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Puzzles can be fun. Reading is a great way to quietly learn about your favorite topics. A board game can be a relaxing, enjoyable way to pass the time with good friends or family. All of these are excellent ways to to cool off after a tough day at work or unwind on a rainy weekend, and they’re all pretty safe. Many of our more exhilarating activities, however, add an element of danger. Certain protective equipment is recommended for many of the more exciting activities — you wear a helmet on a mountain bike and a PFD on a whitewater rafting trip.

Unfortunately, the dangers of hearing loss are often overlooked when it’s time to gear up for some of the activities that we love — earplugs just aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when your buddy suggests a weekend hunting trip. Maybe they should be, though. Here are a few of the activities that we enjoy, the potential danger to your hearing, and how you can make your favorite pastimes safer and more enjoyable.

Get pumped up!

Working out at the gym can be great for strength training or increasing your cardiovascular health. It can also be terrible for your hearing. According to the Washington Post, modern gyms with fitness and cycling classes commonly blare the music at 99 decibels or more. Adults can safely tolerate up to 85 decibels for extended periods of time. More than that, however, and you’ll begin to damage your hearing. Put simply, if you think it might be too loud, it probably is.

Gone huntin’

Few things are as relaxing or rewarding as a weekend away hunting with buddies. Unfortunately, a single gunshot can be 140 to 190 decibels. Without hearing protection, one shot can damage your hearing. At just the right angle, a shot can actually rupture your ear drum. A recent University of Wisconsin study found that people who had regularly engaged in target shooting were more likely to have high-frequency hearing loss than those who had not, and that risk of high-frequency hearing loss increased 7% for every 5 years that the participants had hunted.

Put it in the wind

The hearing risks associated with motorcycles are easy to understand, even if you just hear one pass by. You may be thinking “no worries — my motorcycle is pretty quiet.” That may be true, but studies have shown that the sound of the motorcycle’s engine isn’t the real threat — it’s the deafening wind noise. The faster you go, the louder it gets. In fact, the turbulence generated at high cruising speeds can top 105 dB.

So what can you do? Stay at home and do a puzzle.

Just kidding. Your Plugfones, with a noise reduction rating of 25 dB, bring the gym and your motorcycle well within the safe zone for sustained noise. Unfortunately, it will take the addition of some quality Earmuffs to get your hunting rifle into the safe hearing range, but it can certainly be done. Plus, with Plugfones, you can make any activity better with the addition of a generous helping of Exile on Main St. or Dark Side of the Moon.