Hearing protection is a must in a wide range of industries. From construction to live entertainment to airport and road traffic control, you are expected to wear hearing protection to maintain excellent hearing health and reduce the risks of hearing loss from long-term exposure.

But hearing protection is more complicated than you might think. It is not just about wearing earplugs or ear defenders. You need to make sure you are fully equipped to handle the noise level and protect your ears from extreme noise levels. As hard as you try, there is always the chance that something can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection, which is why it’s important to understand as much as possible about how to protect your ears and your ear defenders.

The Wrong Type of Protection Is as Bad as No Protection

There are several types of hearing protection that you will come across. Knowing the right type of protection to use for your work or activity will dramatically reduce the chances of experiencing hearing loss due to insufficient designs or applications.

It’s useful to know what ear protection is right for which scenario. You will have the choice of earplugs or earmuffs, and although they can both provide good protection, some designs are better than others depending on the environment.

Earplugs are small pod-like items that you stick directly in your ears. You can get single-use items or reusable items depending on how often you need to use them. Earplugs are better for environments when the noise level is consistent, such as when you are working alongside heavy machinery all day.

On the other hand, earmuffs or ear defenders look a lot like classic headphones without a cable to connect them to our music player. These are ideal for intermittent, high noise levels. This is because you can remove ear defenders more easily compared to earplugs, providing a convenient solution for protecting your ears.

Keep an Eye on The Equipment’s Condition

You should also make sure you keep a close eye on the condition of your ear protection equipment. While the chances of them getting damaged are slim as long as you take good care of them, they will still experience wear and tear throughout the years. If you are not careful, there is a strong chance that they will not be as effective in protecting your ears.

For low-noise levels, this will not be a major issue. However, if you are working in high-decibel locations, damaged or bad-quality ear protection can have severe consequences.

Furthermore, you need to think about your build. A lot of ear protection is one size fits all, but this may not be suitable for you. If the protection does not fit comfortably over or in your ears, you are not as protected as you should be, increasing the risk of experiencing hearing damage.

You should also look out for earwax buildup, which can also affect the fit and security of ear protection, especially if you prefer reusable earplugs. A loose band on earmuffs will not keep the pads tight over your ears, either so this will need replacing to ensure a secure, comfortable and protective fit.

Understand What Safe Noise Levels Are

Working in a loud environment will always require you to wear ear protection of some kind, but it’s also useful to understand different noise levels and when noise can become dangerous. Many people are unaware of what a safe amount of noise is, so it helps to know which environments require ear protection no matter what.

An acceptable amount of noise for consistent exposure is 68 decibels, which is between a regular conversation and everyday car noises from city traffic. With this, it is unlikely that you will experience hearing loss.

But your hearing can start to experience problems when exposed to higher decibel levels. Trucks will emit 80 decibels, whereas a hairdryer is rated at 90 decibels, although you will not run a hairdryer for much longer than a few minutes at a time, so you may not require ear protection.

Consistent noise level exposure to anything over 100 decibels is a cause for concern and will require ear protection. If you work in an airport or play as part of an orchestra, using ear protection can mitigate the risks of hearing damage.

Find Out More

If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss as a result of insufficient hearing protection and want to find out more about how you can avoid further loss or get expert advice from an audiologist, get in touch with Quality Hearing & Audiology Center and find out more about the services we offer by calling us at 816-233-0022.