Daily life can regularly include loud noises at a volume that is potentially damaging. This is especially true for certain professions, from construction to cooking, that includes loud equipment and machinery. Hearing protection is the best preventative measure to stop hearing loss before it happens, or reduce its impact after it has already begun. Here are some of your options for hearing protection.
Loud noises can damage your ears over time, or even quickly if your ears are not protected. Sounds around 80 decibels can cause damage to your ears, so it’s important to be prepared for loud noises. To provide an example, the noise of traffic from inside your car can reach 80 to 85 decibels, along with lawnmowers and leaf blowers. Damage to your ear is possible within two hours of operating mowers and leaf blowers.
Noises loud enough to cause hearing damage are far more common than many people realize. Constant exposure to a very loud television near maximum volume can actually cause hearing loss, and listening to music with earbuds at maximum volume can cause damage within five minutes.
If you are concerned about the noise levels around you, sound level meters or smartphone applications that keep track of sound levels can measure the decibels in your immediate area.
When Should You Wear Hearing Protection Items?
There are plenty of situations where you could benefit from protecting your ears. Noises louder than a motorcycle can cause hearing damage after less than an hour of exposure.
Recreational activities such as sporting events, concerts, and outdoor events are frequently loud enough to damage your hearing. Loud music played over large speakers is another possible source, so be sure to prepare for events with music, live or not.
Ear protection should be used when you are on speedboats, motorcycles, scooters, and convertibles. Anything that moves fast and leaves your body exposed to the air as it happens will cause a rush of air past your ears that can be noisy. Other sources of loud noises are more obviously associated with hearing loss, such as sirens from fire trucks and ambulances, power tools, factories, guns, and fireworks.
What Kinds of Hearing Protection Are Available?
You may want to choose your hearing protection according to your daily activities and how often you plan to wear the protection. The options range from simple and unobtrusive to large and highly effective.
Ear protection is available at drugstores and department stores, but you can also get more specialized items from hearing centers. Protection can be customized to fit your ears and protect your ears as effectively as possible. The two main kinds of ear protection are earplugs, semi-earplugs, and ear covers.
If you often travel or have trouble sleeping, you have probably tried using this option. They are easily available at convenience stores, grocery stores, and even vending machines. These are a good option to use when you are on the go and suddenly decide to go to an event or location with loud noises since they protect hearing.
Disposable earplugs are made out of foam and are meant for only one or two uses. The foam material means that they can collect bacteria and dirt easily, so you should avoid reusing them as much as possible.
Reusable earplugs are meant to be used repeatedly and are made from durable, hypoallergenic silicone. They often have a tiered shape that conforms comfortably to ears so that you can wear them for as long as necessary without discomfort.
Different kinds of earplugs are available for different uses. Some are customized for use while listening to music, and they filter noise without blocking it completely. Others are designed for industrial use and provide heavy-duty noise blocking.
Customized earplugs are molded to your ear specifically, and are a great investment for those who work in a noisy environment or do recreational activities that involve loud noises.
These reusable earplugs can and should be cleaned. To clean them, just use mild soap and warm water. Cleaning them regularly will prevent the ear infection that can result from the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
Earmuffs go over the ear, with a thick covering on the outside of each ear. They are made of materials that block out sound and include a cushion that goes around the ear, providing a seal that helps keep out noise. Their effectiveness is generally rated with a noise reduction1
Earmuffs are often used to block out heavy-duty sound in factories and other environments with loud machinery and tools in use. This kind of ear protection is comfortable to wear over a long period of time, making it an excellent choice for work or chores that require loud tools.
If you want the most comfort while wearing protective earplugs, try custom ear molds from Metro Hearing. Contact us today to set up an appointment for an earplug fitting.