Sad to say, but summers at an end. It’s transition time. And that could include your ears, which might be negatively affected by the change in the season.
The first culprit might be allergies, that traditional chore for many people during seasonal conversions. Allergic reactions can cause conductive hearing loss, which is simply any kind of problem with sound waves moving through the ear canal. It’s usually because of skin irritation and fluid buildup in the ears. One can either grin-and-bear-it or take allergy medicines to cut down on the symptoms.
Other aspects of autumnal rituals can do more lasting damage to hearing. One big risk factor is running seasonal yard equipment — leaf blowers, chainsaws, woodchippers — without wearing hearing protection. Any urge to clean up the yard or prune the trees should include realizing that power equipment can create noise over 100 decibels in strength. Anything over 70 decibels can cause damage to human ears.
Other pursuits common to the fall that can create damaging sound levels include any kind of hunting or target practice with rifles or shotguns (which can top 130 decibels). High-frequency hearing loss is, unfortunately, not at all uncommon in long-time hunters and anyone who’s passionate about the sport should be using the best ear protection available.
Then there’s football. Whether NFL or collegiate — or even really serious high school — attending a live game might include repeated exposures to over 100 decibels. The particulars of where one is seated, the acoustics of the stadium, and one’s proximity to sound system speakers or that 200-plus member marching band will all play a factor. But going to the big game with some earplugs is not a bad idea.
Autumn is a peaceful time of year, but it can be loud.