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How to protect your ears this winter

It’s snow time! This is supposed to be an intense year for snowfall which leaves a lot of people aware of their backs, but we seldom think of the effect this snow can have on our ears. Snow clearing can be completed far quicker and easier with the use of a snowblower, but they can be quite loud; a snowblower can reach sound levels of up to 100dB! This level of sound is well within the danger zone and can permanently damage your hearing in as little as 15 minutes. This damage may not be noticeable immediately but can trigger a snowball effect which develops into a permanent impairment requiring the use of hearing aids. One of the things you can do to prevent this is to wear noise dampening earmuffs or ear plugs. By wearing hearing protection, you are lessening the intensity of sound, which lengthens the time you can be exposed to the noise without causing damage.

The second thing you can do is to use noisy equipment only for short periods at a time and take frequent breaks. This doesn’t necessarily extend the time you have to spend on the task. Instead, you can change the order of how you complete your task. If, for example, it takes you 30 minutes using the snow blower to clear your driveway, then maybe you could start right away with the snow blower, then when you are halfway through complete the hand-shoveling and then go back to using the snow blower. This break allows your ears to recover from the exposure and lessen any overall damage that may occur.