Hearing loss can be caused by a number of things, from being around extremely loud equipment as part of your job to simply growing older. It can also be caused by your choice of leisure activities. The number of activities available in St. George and Southern Utah abounds. From the open roads with red rock scenery to the sand dunes, to the many miles of outdoor trails, boating on reservoirs, leisure activities can put your hearing at risk.
Depending on how much free time and disposable income you have, you may not be able to enjoy these activities regularly, but even the occasional noisy hobby can damage your hearing if you don't take the necessary precautions. Here are just a few popular leisure activities that could be robbing you of your hearing.
Loud music has always been linked to hearing loss anecdotally, but the truth is that the noise level at a typical rock concert can reach levels of over 120 decibels. Anything over 80 decibels runs the risk of damaging your hearing, so be careful if you like live music.
If you're going to a particularly loud concert, don't be afraid to bring earplugs. You will still be able to hear the loud music, but your ears will at least have some protection.
The roar of a crowd and a thrilling finish at a live sporting event like a football or basketball game may be exciting and memorable, but it is likely damaging your hearing. The noise can get to levels of 127 decibels, especially if you go to an indoor event.
Some would say that automotive races fall under the category of sporting events, but they still have their own issues when it comes to hearing loss. The noise level of just one large truck or similarly loud vehicle is typically around 90 to 100 decibels. An automotive race has several vehicles, and when you combine their noise with the roar of a live crowd it all becomes very bad for your ears.
Hunting and Target Shooting
A gunshot is between 150 and 167 decibels, which is well past the point of ear pain. Just one gunshot is enough to cause hearing loss in unprotected ears, so make sure you wear some kind of ear protection if you enjoy hunting or target shooting.
Like the cars at an automobile race, motorcycles are easily loud enough to damage your hearing. They have been known to reach 120 decibels, which would make them a little louder than race cars or large trucks. Even when you're the one riding the motorcycle or ATV, you still won't have a lot of protection since you're exposed.
One of the hidden dangers or your hearing when riding a motorcycle or off-road vehicle is wind noise – one more good reason to wear a helmet. If you enjoy motocross or a similar activity, make sure you protect your ears along with the rest of your head.
More Potentially Dangerous Noises
Leisure activities aren't the only non-work activities that can put your hearing at risk. Even routine tasks like operating a lawnmower, using a power drill, or cranking up the food blender can have an adverse impact on your hearing health.
For more information on decibel levels of common noise sources and their effects, take a look at data from Purdue University.