Warning: You'd be Crazy Not to Wear Earplugs During These 9 Extremely Fun Activities
As humans, we're constantly exploring our boundaries and testing ourselvesóand sometimes this means putting our bodies in fairly unusual situations.
In this post we're going to explore a handful of activities that are really, really fun, but our ears just aren't equipped to deal with on their own.
Check them out and maybe even discover the next weekend activity you want to try out, just don't forget your earplugs!
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Sandboarding is a sport that couldn't possibly be more different than snowboarding, but at the same time is still remarkably similar.
Rather than snow, participants glide down sand dunes using boards very similar to snowboards (although they are structurally somewhat different). The sport requires a bit more walking in most popular areas, since it's almost impossible to get a ìski liftî type unit built on sand dunes.
If you're snowboarding and you get some snow caught in your ears, it's not a huge problemówhile it's uncomfortable and it certainly can lead to infections, in most cases the snow just melts away. Sand, as it were, is far more troublesome to get out of any part of your body.
(We're talking about the ears here, folks.)
Needless to say, earplugs are practically mandatory in this sport if you'd like to avoid having sand in your ears.
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Snorkeling is a bit like visiting an alien world. The creatures, colors, and underwater landscapes are nothing short of stunning. Want to go back to the world you know? Just pop your head up out of the water.
Snorkeling is one of the most accessible and enjoyable activities for people of all ages, and that's why it's a shame that so many people suffer from ìswimmer's ear,î which is the blanket term for ear infections caused by water remaining in the ear canal.
The solution is, of course, to think ahead and prevent water from entering the ears to begin with.
Note: There's nothing wrong with earplugs in low-pressure environments to prevent swimmers ear, but we're specifically talking about shallow-water snorkeling hereówearing earplugs while scuba diving can actually be quite hazardous, since in some cases they'll prevent your eardrums from equalizing under the pressure of the water (which can lead to a ruptured eardrum).
#7 Every Single Concert Ever
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Sounds over 85 decibels can damage the earsósometimes permanently, depending on your personal physiology or luck.
The average concert is 120 decibels.
It might not seem ìcoolî to wear earplugs to a concert, but neither is early-onset hearing loss before you turn thirty.
Fun fact: it's believed that some of the loudest bands in the world include Kiss (having reached 136 dB in one concert), Manowar (139 dB), Gallows (132.5 dB), Motˆrhead (130 dB), and even The Who, way back in 1976 who reached 126 dB, which was really loud for the sound technology of the time.
Even if you're seeing BeyoncÈ instead of Manowar, it's a good idea to wear earplugs at any concertóyour ears will thank you later.
#6 Practicing With Your Own Band
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In addition to concerts, it's a good idea for every member of your own band to have a good pair of earplugs.
You might be able to get away without damaging your ears if you only see one or two concerts every few years, but bands are often playing in enclosed areas (such as your drummer Todd's bedroom) and far, far more frequently.
A lot of newbie musicians worry that they won't be able to hear as well, but after switching over to earplugs, many musicians report being able to hear better. That's probably because the sound of their instruments are being carried to the ears at a volume that won't cause overuse (ringing).
Get earplugsóyou and your band mates will be able to play better and longer without damaging your eardrums.
#5 The Fourth of July
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...Or any other fireworks show.
Fireworks are a visual display. And while it's fun to feel the booming vibrations, if you're too close to the display, you're putting your ears at serious risk without proper protection.
We covered above how concerts are most certainly capable of damaging your ears, and they hit an average of 120 decibels.
The average fireworks display?
150 decibels, in some cases even going up to 175.
If you're far away from the display, chances are you're going to be fineóbut if you're the type that likes to get up close, or you're a backyard pyromaniac, you'll definitely want a pair of earplugs handy.
#4 Sporting Events: Surprisingly Loud
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Did you know that Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City holds the current record as the loudest stadium in the world?
The home of the Kansas City Chiefs has been verified by Guinness World Records as being capable of reaching 142.2 dBówhich, if you've been paying attention, you know is louder than some of the most explosive concerts in history, fireworks, and even some gunshots at close range.
While most stadiums don't reach that level of cacophony, most can exceed 100 dB without breaking a sweat.
Bottom line? Don't forget to pack your earplugs with your foam finger and face paint.
#3 Watching a Space Shuttle Launch
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Even though there's no sound in space, as it turns out, getting there is actually really, really loud. The Saturn V has engines capable of generating 7.5 million pounds of thrust.
That kind of power makes a lot of noiseóin some cases, over 200 dB.
In 2017, NASA will be launching the SLS rocket, and it's even bigger than the Saturn V, prompting scientists to run in the opposite direction with their ears covered. That's only kind of a joke too, because for most rocket launches, observers are required to be at least a half mile away lest their hearing gets permanently damaged.
#2 During Your Next Vacation
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All right, so maybe the traveling part of going on a vacation isn't extremely fun, but in order to get to your destination you have to do it.
Most people will tell you that flying first class isn't all it's cracked up to beówhether you're there or in coach, you'll still be able to hear that baby crying two aisles back. If you'd like to make your flight seem like a dream (literally), the best thing to do is sleep your way through it, and earplugs are the tool you need to help you do exactly that.
#1 At a Shooting Range
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Most shooting enthusiasts know that wearing earplugs while practicingóespecially at a shooting range with other peopleóis a mandatory safety requirement. This is because a gunshot can range, on average, from about 140 to up to 190 dB.
That's per shot fired, so you can only imagine how loud a shooting range can become.
Most of the time, shooting ranges will be required to provide participants with earplugs or earmuffs, but having your own pair with you at all times means that you won't have to worry about ill-fitting ear protection. It also means you avoid wearing something that a few hundred other people have worn before you, if that's the kind of thing that sounds just a little gross.
All of the activities we've discussed are a ton of fun, but they aren't worth risking the continued function of your earsómake the smart choice and protect your senses.