Our home is more than four walls that keep us safe and warm. It’s a space that provide respite from busy days, invites us to gather with friends and family, or encourages us to relax in front of the television to watch our favorite shows.
It’s natural to think our home protects us from the outside world, but have you considered the health dangers lurking inside? Get ready, because we’re about to share four household appliances that can damage your hearing!
One of the biggest concerns with hearing loss is its subtlety.
Yes, you can injure your eardrums sitting in the front row of a loud concert and experience ringing in your ears, but most noise-related hearing problems develop slowly over time with ongoing exposure to loud sounds, so you might not notice until it’s too late.
With this in mind, here are four household items that pose a threat to your ears, and what you can do to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss!
For many women (and some men, too), blow-drying their hair is a daily ritual. If it takes ten minutes to dry your hair, that adds up to more than an hour of exposure to loud sounds every week, directly near your ear drum.
The American Speech and Hearing Association ranks hair dryers in the “very loud” category at 80-90 dB, so to be on the safe side, put a pair of earplugs in the bathroom and stick them in before drying your hair every morning!
Your trusty vacuum cleaner can reach 70 dB, (or even 90dB in the case of one Dyson model), but don’t let this deter you from tidying up! Although Consumer Reports reminds us that all vacuums make noise and we can’t escape completely, there are several products on the market that are trying to reduce the noise as much as possible while still offering the cleaning benefits you’ve come to appreciate.
Lawn mowers are louder than traffic noise, with most models reaching around 90dB. This might not sound high, but it’s 5 dB higher than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends, so don’t head outside without earplugs or earmuffs!
But there’s some good news. The Chicago Tribune reports that Briggs & Stratton is developing a lawn mower equipped with what it hopes to be the quietest engine ever. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed this becomes the new normal when it comes to lawn care equipment!
Smoothies are all the rage, especially with high-speed blenders on the market from VitaMix and BlendTec. In addition to your protein breakfast smoothie, these kitchen appliances can make everything from pesto to soup to flour, and are becoming necessary tools for many home cooks.
As helpful as they are for your cooking routine, there’s one small downside: noise. Start inching up the dial, and you’ll notice an increase in both speed and sound, reaching up to 100 dB!
A lot of effort has also been put in to make the newer Vitamix blenders run more quietly. The Vitamix 7500 is nearly 40% quieter than the older Vitamix models, reportedly 7 decibels less noise at high speeds, so that’s good news, but it wouldn’t hurt to use the lower setting or keep a set of earplugs in the kitchen, too.
Cohen, Alexander, Joseph R. Anticaglia, and Herbert H. Jones. “Noise-induced hearing loss.” Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal 20.5 (1970): 614-623.