Protecting Your Ears and Hearing in the World Around You

The average person may only come into contact with extremely loud noises on occasions, such as a concert, listening to live music, an air or car show, or a day at a carnival.   Typically, the noises you deal with on a daily basis are not going to damage your hearing. However, if you are in a line of work in which you are constantly surrounded by loud noise, you may find yourself with hearing loss before retirement – unless you protect your hearing. Musicians, construction workers, hunters, machinists, pilots, airline workers, and any number of other professions are surrounded by loud noises daily. While these people cannot completely cover their ears, since they need to be aware of their surroundings and be able to communicate easily, they can use hearing protection to reduce the risk of serious damage to their hearing.

The Issues

The reason certain professions may cause a problem for your hearing relates to the number of decibels an ear can handle for an extended period of time. Average daily activities typically are around 60 decibels or less. The hearing mechanism can handle 85 decibels before it starts to have a problem. However, the problem not only relates to how loud the decibels are, but also how often and long you are exposed to this level of noise. For instance, a person mowing their lawn once a month for 10 minutes would likely not have to wear any protective gear although it would be helpful to protect from the stress of noise. However, a landscaper, who is surrounded by the sounds of a lawnmower multiple times a day at 90 decibels, would require protective gear for his hearing.

In general, children have more sensitive hearing than adults. Therefore, when they are exposed to things such as an air show, a parade, loud concert, or even fireworks, they are likely to be affected even more by the loud noises and require protection for their ears.

The Fix

Many of us have seen and maybe even purchased noise-cancelling headphones to wear to events or work. However, there are other options available that are custom made and are less clunky and provide easier movement overall.   These products can be made to fit to your ear’s unique shape for a snug fit and easy mobility.   One style of mold is the musician molds that have filters so it can make it easier for individuals who work in a field where they need to speak with others can do so and hear themselves, while still protecting their ears from the louder noises.  Another type of mold is a ‘hunters mold’.  This type of protection has an amplifier, amplifying soft sounds, but protects at the same time while plugging your ears and amplifying only when there is no loud noise.  It isn’t perfect and mostly for normal hearing individuals as the amplifier is not powerful.  It does has a fast attack time so that it doesn’t amplify gun fire which is great for police officers and hunters who use a gun at a random moment.  

For those that require the actual physical protection of their ears, however, harder noise-cancelling and/ or attention headphones may be the best option to protect. They may create a difficult time in communication,  but they will protect your entire hearing mechanisms.

To learn more about your options for protection for work or play, contact the experts at Chears Audiology at 612-979-0561.

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