A great way to be proactive and help prevent gradual hearing loss due to noise exposure is to utilize hearing protection whenever possible. Whether you’re exposed to loud noises at public events like concerts or festivals, or you’re exposed to loud noises in the workplace, employing protective equipment to protect your ears can keep your hearing at optimal levels your whole life. Hearing protection levels vary, from ear muffs that cover the whole ear to ear plugs that are inserted inside the canal. Their necessity is based on the level of noise you’ll be exposed to. Being exposed to 85 dB of noise a day or more can negatively affect your hearing, so you may want to consider what kind of hearing protection would work best for your daily routine.
When to wear hearing protection?
As a general rule, there are certain levels of sound that require more serious hearing protection. Knowing when to wear hearing protection is part common sense, but it’s also based on how many hours a day you’re exposed to certain noise levels.
- 90 dB (weed eater, hand dryer, lawnmower, etc): Exposure over four hours may have a negative impact on your hearing.
- 100 dB (power tools, construction equipment, etc): Exposure over one hour may have a negative impact on your hearing.
- 110 dB (leaf blowers, boat engines, EMS vehicles, construction equipment, etc): Exposure over fifteen minutes may have a negative impact on your hearing.
- 120 dB (rock concerts, events ): Any exposure may have a negative impact on your hearing.
- 140 dB (jet engine): Any exposure may cause damage and can even inflict pain.
To test the sound levels you may be exposed to, you can use various smartphone apps to measure decibel meter levels. Decibel X and Too Noisy Pro are two of the more popular apps to check volume levels on the go.
What kind of hearing protection should I use?
It’s important to note that hearing protection comes in a variety of styles, but the most important factor is their level of protection. The number one key purpose of hearing protection is to provide noise reduction to the wearer.
Ear plugs – Inserted into the ear canal, they come in a wide variety of shapes and features. Preformed earplugs stay in the same shape, or may come in a soft foam material so they can be molded into the ear canal. Some are disposable while some are disposable. There are even custom fit ear plugs that are molded to the shape of a users ear. They must block the ear canal entirely to be effective. For some, these are not comfortable or practical, so there are headband options to help them stay in place.
Ear muffs – Ear muffs consist of sound cancelling materials and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear and hard outer cups. They are held together by an adjustable headband.
It’s important to check the noise protection rating on these pieces of PPE before employing them for hearing protection purposes. At the end of the day, prevention is the best protection for your hearing. If you want more information on the hearing protection that is right for you, come in and speak with the team at Audionics NYC. Call today on 212-755-5100, or click here to request an appointment online.