We all know to slather on the sun cream and stay hydrated during our holidays but have you thought of what you can do to protect your hearing? It’s vital that we look after our hearing properly to avoid permanent damage - and so that we can enjoy the sweet sounds of summer.
Nick Taylor, chief audiologist at Specsavers offers expert insights on how to care for your hearing this summer:
One of the biggest hazards to your hearing on holiday is air travel. 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.
Even airport noise can reach 110dB, so it is well worth thinking about wearing a form of hearing protection, such as ear plugs, when travelling. If possible, choose a seat away from the wings too as most noise is created by the engines below them.
Another factor to consider if you’re planning to jet set is the effect of air pressure changes on your ears. Most people don’t have too much trouble when the pressure inside the cabin changes and their ears ‘pop’, but for some it can create severe pain and even hearing loss. A simple solution is to introduce as much air as possible to the ear via swallowing or yawning. Sucking on a hard boiled sweet, chewing gum or drinking through a straw during take-off and landing all help.
For most a little water in their ears won’t be a problem or cause too much discomfort but it might be worth taking some extra care for those that are susceptible to ear infections or swimmer’s ear. That doesn’t mean missing out on splashing around in the water though; custom fit earplugs are available which lower the risk of trapped water in your ears.
Alternatively, be sure to dry your ears thoroughly afterwards by placing a paper tissue over your ear while you shake out as much water as possible. Always steer clear of polluted or dirty water to avoid infection.
Seeking hearing help abroad
You may find that some of these suggestions are enough to equalise the pressure on either side of your eardrum, but if the pain in your ears comes on suddenly or you notice a significant difference in your hearing then seek professional and help visit a local doctor.
Specsavers recommends that everyone over the age of 55 has their hearing checked once a year. Incorporating hearing checks into your regular healthcare routine means your hearing can be monitored by a professional to ensure any deterioration is managed in the best way possible.