October 2022 Newsletter: National Protect Your Hearing Month #NPYHM

October can be a great month for sports nuts; if the stars align, all the major sports franchises in your city can be playing at the same time. In Philadelphia, the Eagles are off to a great start, the Phillies and Union are in the playoffs, and the Sixers and Flyers just kicked off their seasons. And if you have ever been to a Philadelphia sporting event, you know that sound levels can be extreme. Read on for a few tips that can help protect your ears from these sources and preserve them to enjoy one of our many well-designed acoustics projects.

October is also National Protect Your Hearing Month, and sportscaster Ken Rosenthal isn’t the only one who should be concerned about elevated sound levels during sporting events (if you’re curious as to how loud other arenas can get, one of the consultants here helped conduct a study rating the loudest college arenas in the country). Outside of stadiums and arenas, every day activities can also generate high sound energy that can damage your hearing.

What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)?

You might recognize the cochlea as the spiral part of the inner ear that looks like a snail shell. This pea-sized organ is lined with hair cells that play a major role in transducing mechanical sound energy into electrical signals the brain can interpret. Up to 50 percent of these hair cells can be permanently damaged from high pressure sound waves before one notices hearing impairment.

Where can it happen?

A typical rock concert or sporting event can potentially generate levels over 100 dBA, and it should not come as a surprise that it is a good idea to wear hearing protection when attending these kinds of events. However, everyday activities can also pose dangerous sound levels, such as commuting on public transportation, walking near street traffic, attending a fitness class, or working with power tools and lawn equipment. Wearing earmuffs or earplugs is a good idea in loud environments, but they can drastically reduce speech intelligibility.

What can you do?

There is no secret ingredient for protecting your ears; typical earplugs or earmuffs will do the trick for most situations. It is more a matter of staying diligent and being aware of your surroundings. However, there are a few tips that can help. For extremely high sources, be sure to use earplugs in combination with earmuffs. For public transportation and walking through the city, you can use closed-back, over-the-ear headphones to cut down the sound; this is effective even without music playing – and if you do listen to music, make sure it is at a reasonable level! For times when you need to communicate effectively or catch all the music at a concert at a reduced sound level, high-fidelity earplugs can be a great option. Sensaphonics, a company in Chicago, provides universal and custom molded high-fidelity earplugs. Several consultants at Metropolitan Acoustics use the custom molded earplugs, and while they are not inexpensive, they allow different levels of sound reduction and are very comfortable, meaning they can easily be worn all day without discomfort.

Photo of ER Series custom earplugs used by permission of Sensaphonics, Inc.

So, protect your ears for #NPYHM, and all the months beyond. They’re the only pair you’ll get!

Cocalico High School Renovations
Richmond Elementary School Upgrades