This is the time of year you’re firing up the lawmower, leafblower, or revving up the motorcycle. The noisy spring and summer activity could rob you of your hearing. University of Northern Iowa professor Bruce Plakke says even indoor activities — like using the vacuum cleaner — could also pose a risk. He says it’s a combination of how loud something is and how long you’re exposed. He says many things aren’t that bad because you aren’t doing it for 24-hours a day or eight hours at a time. Plakke is a professor of communicative disorders, and says hearing loss can silently sneak up on you. He says if you notice ringing in your hears or decreased hearing after being exposed to something, that’s an indication something is too loud. He says unfortunately your ear won’t bleed or hurt most of the time and by the time you realize the hearing loss, it’s too late. He does have one rule of thumb for figuring the an appropriate volume.He says if you’re within three feet of something and have to shout — then it’s probably too loud. Plakke says you have to judge for yourself when it comes to hearing, as we all have a different tolerance. He says some people have tender ears, and some people have tough ears, and he says there’s no way to sort them out until it’s too late. Plakke says putting in some ear plugs before you mow the lawn, or use other noisy equipment will help. He says a lot of people think big bulky headphone ear muffs are the best, but he says the foam type ear plugs that fit right in your ear are the best. Plakke says you can spend a dollar or so now on foam ear plugs, and avoid paying hundreds of dollars later for hearing aids.
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