The Centers for Disease Control defines the threshold for noise-induced hearing loss to be any noise above 70 decibels (dB) over a prolonged period of time or over 120 dB immediately.
There are many surprising noises you may not initially consider when thinking about common causes of hearing loss. For instance, city traffic can reach levels of 80-85 decibels. While traffic may seem nothing more than an annoyance, it can cause hearing damage over time.
Cycling is another surprising source of hearing loss-level noise exposure. One study found that outdoor cyclists are exposed to wind noise decibels ranging from 84.9 dB at 10 mph to 120.3 dB at 60 mph.
Hearing damage from cycling may also occur due to indoor cycling class noise levels. An evaluation of the noise levels in 17 spin classes in Boston, Massachusetts, found that participants spent an average of 31.6 minutes exposed to noise exceeding 100 dB.
If you enjoy indoor or outdoor cycling, practicing hearing protection methods and staying informed on the common signs of hearing loss is essential.
Hearing Protection Methods
A couple of great options for protecting your hearing while cycling include:
- Wind guards. Wind guards are designed to reduce the impact of wind noise during a bike ride. You can pair wind guards with hearing aids to help keep you aware of your surroundings while protecting your ear health. Some hearing aids even come with wind noise reduction technology to add greater enjoyment to your next ride around Mt Tabor Park.
- Earplugs. Earplugs are an excellent option for indoor spin classes. Wearing earplugs during your next indoor class will help protect your hearing and have the added benefit of keeping sweat or dirt from entering the ear canal.
What Are Common Signs of Hearing Loss?
Keeping an eye on your hearing loss can be difficult because we often don’t notice the signs in ourselves. A couple of signs to watch out for include:
- Turning the TV up louder than normal
- Having trouble following conversations
- Having difficulty with high-pitched sounds
- Talking louder because your voice sounds muffled
To schedule a hearing test or to discuss hearing protection, contact PDX ENT today to make an appointment with one of our trusted specialists.