Halloween is right around the corner. You can see the signs just about everywhere. From the inflatable ghosts that your neighbor has installed on his lawn to the fake cobwebs that your boss has strewn around the office (not to mention all of the pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween-themed sweets that people are consuming with much gusto), it's pretty clear that Halloween has finally come upon us all. Kids and adults everywhere are joining in on the revelries and trying to spook one another in keeping with the spirit of the season.
However, amidst all the chaotic Halloween fun, it's easy to forget how to take care of one's hearing health. But this should not be the case. No matter what your age is, or whether you suffer from hearing loss or not, protecting your hearing should remain a top health priority. Along with the higher risk of cavities from eating all of the Halloween candy, people would also have to contend with the fact that the risk for hearing damage is also higher during this season.
Here are some of the ways with which you can enjoy Halloween without putting your hearing on the line:
Be Conscious of Noise Levels
Halloween is not just for trick-or-treating kids- grown-ups are having just as much fun too! According to a survey, one out of three adults attend (or host) a Halloween party every year. The thing is, while most adults often try to watch what they eat or drink during a Halloween bash or Halloween-themed event, they don't put much thought into what their ears go through.
Speakers and other kinds of sound amplifying devices have improved so much over the years. They have progressively become bigger and louder. As time went on, these devices eventually became a mainstay in concerts, parties, and other events where loud music is needed.
Chances are, that DJ at your Halloween party is very fond of cranking the volume up a notch to make people more likely to dance and be more energetic and lively. This might make the party a whole lot more fun, but the risk for hearing damage will be a lot higher. Remember, it has been estimated that up to fifteen percent of all adults aged 20 to 69 will experience hearing loss induced by excessive noise during leisure activities, such as those you would find in rock concerts, clubs, and parties.
The exact number here is 100 decibels. Any music or sound that is 100 decibels or louder can significantly damage your hearing if you're exposed to it for more than 15 minutes. However, there are not that many people who carry portable decibel meters around, so you would have to gauge the situation by your ears alone. A handy rule of thumb is: if you can't hear somebody talking without them shouting over the music, then the music is too loud and the place is too noisy for you. If you're the host, make an effort to turn the volume down a little. If you're a guest (and don't have control over how loud the music is inside the venue), you can protect your ears by stepping outside from time to time. You might also want to try wearing some discreet ear plugs, if you don't plan on talking or socializing much during the event. After the said event is over, give your ears some much needed rest by giving them a day or two to recover (i.e. don't listen to loud music or use headphones at all for the next couple of days).
Take Care in The Dark
Halloween is supposed to be spooky, so most Halloween-themed events often have dim lighting. If wearing a costume, make sure that no parts of your clothing will interfere with your vision or hearing. You need to be able to see and hear things around you clearly, especially if it's a night event. You can carry a flashlight in your bag for extra safety, or put reflective tape on your costume or clothes so that cars will be able to see you.
Do you or your kids wear hearing aids? Then make sure that they're working fine before leaving the house. Ensure that their batteries are charged, and carry extra ones with you before you go.
More General Halloween Safety Tips
If there's alcohol involved in the Halloween party, have a designated (sober) driver. This driver will ensure that you will get back home safely and that the trick-or-treating kids on the street will be safe as well.
Don't use candles inside jack-o-lanterns. They're a fire hazard. Just use battery-operated electric candles instead.
Leave the lights on for the trick-or-treating kids. Keep your lawn, doorways, and steps free of cords, equipment, or any other object that might trip them.
If you're going to a party in costume, check that your accessories won't knock off or dislodge hearing aids, glasses, or do anything to interfere with your hearing and vision in any way.
Write contact information on the inside of a kid's costume. A kid might panic in the dark and having the information readily on hand will help those who find him get him back home safely.
Let your kids carry a flashlight with them while they go out for trick or treat. Attach reflective tape to the back of their costumes so that cars and other people will be able to see them in the dark.
Let the kids inform you where they are going. There should be an agreed route beforehand. If you trust your child enough, let them carry a mobile phone so that you'll be able to contact them if you want to. Younger children should be accompanied by a parent while trick or treating.
Always walk on the sidewalk! Don't just go cross the street even if you don't see any cars present.
Remind kids to stay in groups and not to let anyone go off on their own. Avoid dark houses with no lights and don't let shady looking strangers talk to them or lead them somewhere.
Remember Halloween should be fun, but it should not be at the expense of your hearing. Just follow these tips and you'll be all set. Happy Halloween!