A noisy environment isn’t good news for your ears, especially if you’re repeatedly exposed to the noise. You can take measures to proactively prevent noise-induced hearing loss by using hearing protection when possible.
You may be exposed to loud noises in the workplace, or even at events like music concerts or festivals. Using protective hearing equipment can help keep your hearing at optimal levels, but you may find yourself asking “what level of hearing protection do I need?”
Levels Of Hearing Protection
The levels of hearing protection on the market varies. There are ear muffs that can cover the whole ear, down to smaller ear plugs that sit inside your ear canal. The hearing protection that you should use depends on the level of noise that you’re going to be exposed to.
Remember: It’s not just the level of noise that you need to be aware of. It’s also how long you’re going to be exposed to this noise.
When To Wear Hearing Protection
Generally speaking, certain levels of sound will require more serious hearing protection. Exposure to 85 dB of noise a day or more can impact your hearing. Noise can also have a wider impact on your overall health and well-being. Here are some common sounds you may experience in your day to day life:
- 90 dB (e.g. lawnmowers, hand dryer, weed whacker, etc): Exposure to 90 dB for longer than four hours may impact your hearing.
- 100 dB (e.g. construction equipment, power tools, etc): Exposure to 100 dB for longer than one hour may impact your hearing.
- 110 dB (e.g. EMS vehicles, construction equipment, leaf blowers, boat engines, etc): Exposure to 110 dB for over 15 minutes may impact your hearing.
- 120 dB (e.g. rock concerts, events ): Any exposure to 120 dB may impact your hearing.
- 140 dB (e.g. jet engine): Any exposure may cause damage and can even inflict pain.
What Level of Hearing Protection Do I Need?
There are a number of styles of hearing protection. What you want to consider is the level of protection they offer.
- Ear plugs – Ear plugs are inserted into your ear canal. They come in a wide variety of shapes and with differing features. Preformed earplugs will keep their shape. Other ear plugs may be made of a soft foam material which allows them to mold to the shape of your ear canal. Some are reusable, while others are disposable. If you’re going to be wearing ear plugs regularly, you may want to consider custom-fit ear plugs that are designed for the shape of your ear.
- Ear muffs – Ear muffs are made of sound cancelling materials and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear. Generally, they have a hard outer cup. An adjustable headband allows the wearer to adjust the muffs to fit snugly over the ear.
In some cases, your employer may be required to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Depending on the level of noise in your workplace, hearing protection may be considered PPE.
Using appropriate hearing protection is the best way to prevent noise induced hearing loss. If you’d like more information on appropriate hearing protection for you, please get in touch with the hearing care professionals at Anderson Audiology today. We can explore your lifestyle, and determine if custom ear protection may be the most suitable for you. Call us today at 702-997-2964 and arrange an appointment at your convenience, or click here to request an appointment online.