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3 Tips for Choosing the Right Hearing Protection

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Hearing Protection

The world is noisier than ever before. Exposure to loud noises can damage the ears, increasing the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. If you live or work in an environment where high levels of noise are par for the course, or you have hobbies that involve being exposed to loud noises, it’s hugely beneficial to think about protecting your ears. Here are three top tips for choosing the right hearing protection. 

Three tips for choosing the right hearing protection

There are several ways you can protect your ears and reduce the risk of hearing loss. Some devices and appliances are better suited to some people than others. If you’re unsure which type of hearing protection would be best for you, here are three tips that may come in handy:

1. Consider how much noise reduction you need

There’s a vast variation in noise levels from one setting to another, and this often means that some people need more intensive noise reduction than others. If you ride the subway to work you would like to enjoy peace and quiet while protecting your ears at the same time, you probably won’t need to save level of protection as somebody that operates a road drill on a daily basis or a keen clay pigeon shooter. Think about the environment in which you live and work, and the level of noise you’re exposed to. As a general guide, the noise level for a normal, everyday conversation is around 60 decibels, the level on the subway is approximately 90-95 decibels, and a chainsaw is 110-115 decibels. Hearing protection is recommended for those who are regularly exposed to sounds over 85 decibels. There is a huge variety of earplugs, molds and defenders on offer, and some offer a much greater level of protection than others. Your audiologist will be able to make suggestions based on how much noise reduction you require. 

2. Think about the tasks or movements you undertake

When exploring noise protection options, it’s wise to think about the kinds of tasks and movements you’re required to undertake. Are you going to be moving around a lot? Will you be wearing additional personal protective equipment, for example, masks or goggles? Will you need protection throughout the day, or are you subjected to high-level noises on a sporadic basis? Will you be getting your hands dirty? Do you need to be able to hear or speak to other people while you’re working or enjoying activities? 

All these questions provide an insight into which type of hearing protection is best for you. If your job involves being exposed to loud noises from time to time, for example, it’s easier to take ear defenders, also known as earmuffs, off than to insert and remove earplugs. It’s also better to opt for earmuffs if you tend to get dirty hands. Earplugs and molds are ideal for people who have to move around a lot, and they’re also usually better suited to people who also wear helmets or goggles. If you need to be able to hear, for example, you’re a musician, customized earmolds are usually the best option. Your audiologist will be able to discuss the different types of hearing protection with you and make recommendations based on your job and the hobbies you enjoy. 

3. Comfort

It’s beneficial to protect your ears from loud noises, but it’s also crucial to be comfortable. If you’re working long hours, you don’t want to be worrying about your ears feeling sore or getting too hot. Earmuffs are not ideally suited to confined spaces or hot, humid environments, while earplugs can be uncomfortable after a while if they’re not customized for the individual. You may find that you benefit from trying different types of hearing protection and seeing which options you find most comfortable. If you are planning to use earplugs or molds on a regular basis, your audiologist may recommend investing in bespoke devices for a perfect fit. 

Hearing protection shields the delicate components of the inner ear from loud noises, and it can help to lower the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. If you work in a noisy environment, you live in amidst the hustle and bustle of the city streets, or you have hobbies like shooting or going to rock concerts, it’s a good idea to take steps to protect your ears. If you have any questions about hearing protection, or you’d like advice about which type of ear protection is best for you, why not contact Gavin Audiology and Hearing Aids today on 914-631-8777!