It is commonly assumed that hearing loss is something typically
Do You Need Hearing Protection?
Hearing loss affects roughly 30-million Americans in some shape or form. To preserve your hearing, it's imperative you take responsibility and try to prevent future loss in your life. Or, if you already experience the condition, you will be determined to stop its progress. Wearing hearing protection products is, for some people, the most effective solution.
Not everyone needs to wear hearing protection, though. Here's all you need to know about whether you could benefit from wearing earplugs, earmuffs, or another form of protection.
Why is hearing protection needed?
Hearing protection is primarily required because human ears have not adapted to the modern age. Our ears are simply not built to withstand the loud noises that come as byproducts of engines, machinery, and other tech devices. When your ears are exposed to those unnaturally loud sounds, an intervention is needed.
Audiologists will tell you that the ears are perfectly safe up to sound levels of 70dB. Once this threshold is reached, the amount of time that can be spent around the noise quickly falls, as is shown below;
- At 70dB, you will experience hearing loss after eight hours of exposure,
- At 91dB hearing loss can be experienced after two hours of exposure,
- At 100dB, you will experience hearing loss after 15 minutes of exposure.
If you are exposed to environments where the sound levels regularly reach 70dB or above, hearing protection is essential. In addition to protecting your ears against long-term hearing loss, it can help prevent symptoms of tinnitus, short-term hearing loss, and headaches.
What are the most common activities where hearing protection is required?
Hearing protection is advised whenever you are exposed to loud noises, as mentioned above. This could cover a wide range of recreational and professional scenarios. Nonetheless, some situations are more common than others. The most likely times to wear hearing protection are;
- Working with heavy machinery
- Working with aircraft
- Fireworks displays
- Riding motorbikes or other loud vehicles
- Working with power tools
- Playing, producing or listening to loud music
In addition to noise exposure, you may want to wear hearing protection to keep water out of the ear canal. When moisture is trapped, the ear's moist and warm setting becomes a breeding ground for bacterial infections. So, swimmers often wear hearing protection too.
What should you look for in hearing protection?
Hearing protection can be beneficial at any stage of life. Whether you have no hearing loss, mild hearing loss, or profound hearing loss, earplugs and earmuffs can protect you against damage. However, it is crucial that all individuals find the right solution for their needs.
The following checklist should guide you to a suitable solution;
- Check that the noise reduction rate (NRR) meets your need – this number tells you how much sound is blocked out
- Confirm that the style is right for your activity – for example, only earplugs are suitable for swimmers
- Test the product for comfort – if you can't find a standard solution, custom hearing protection can be made
- Look at the price – in addition to affordability, you should check value for money in relation to your intended use
The best way to confirm which type of hearing protection is right for you is to book a consultation with your audiologist today.