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Planning Retirement Online

Ensure your hearing is
a cut above the rest this spring


The sun is beginning to come out from behind the clouds again and many of us are desperate to get back in the garden to get them looking their best for summer.

Lawn mowers and hedge trimmers will be running at full throttle throughout the warmer months as we do our best to ensure our backyards and gardens look great ahead of entertaining family and friends at barbeques and social gatherings.

Hearing the birds sing is part of what makes spending time in the garden so enjoyable but many people don’t even think about how their hearing is affected by everyday gardening tasks such as mowing the grass - you could be damaging your hearing without even realising it.

It’s important to be mindful of the impact that noisy gardening or power tools can have on your hearing health. Whether you are using gardening tools yourself or are simply outside enjoying some sunshine you are likely to be exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels.

Nick Taylor, audiologist and head of professional advancement at Specsavers Audiologists, explained to Laterlife the importance of protecting your hearing when spending time in the garden this summer.

He told us: “A sound's loudness is measured in decibels (dB). In general, sounds above 85 dB are harmful, depending on how often and how long we are exposed to them, and whether you wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs.

Loudness of common sounds
  • A typical conversation occurs at 60 dB - not loud enough to cause damamge
  • A lorry that is idling loud enough at 85 dB that it can cause permanent damage after only 1 work day (8 hours)
  • A lawn mower is about 85-90 dB, reaching a potentially damaging level
  • Listening to a personal music sustem with stock earphones at a maximum volume can generate sound level of over 100 dB, which may cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes per day
  • A loud rock concert is about 120 dB and can cause significant damage


“Even a lawn mower can reach 90dB, so it is well worth thinking about wearing a form of hearing protection when taking part in gardening chores at home this summer. The effects of noise on hearing vary and some people's ears are more sensitive to loud sounds, especially at certain frequencies. But any sound that is loud enough and lasts long enough can damage hearing and lead to hearing loss.”

Nick suggests wearing ear plugs when in the garden. Wearing hearing protection ensures dangerous noises from loud machines are muted without completely eliminating the sound of speech or birdsong.

Nick also explained that while we mainly associate the high street chain Specsavers with vision, rhey also offer specialist hearing services.

He says that Specsavers audiologists recommend that everyone over the age of 55 has their hearing checked once a year. Incorporating hearing checks into a regular healthcare routine means hearing can be monitored by a professional to ensure any deterioration is managed in the best way possible.

“Hearing loss is something that happens gradually over time, so more often than not, people wait until their hearing loss is severe before seeking help,” said Nick. “That’s why it’s important to look out for the signs like having the TV turned up uncomfortably loud for others in the room and to book in for a hearing appointment as part of your regular healthcare routine.”

 

Specsavers offer a free hearing test. Simply call 0800 731 9050 or visit www.specsavers.co.uk/hearing.


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