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A Quick Guide to Hearing Protection
Noise-induced hearing loss is a common condition that affects millions of people today. According to the CDC, an estimated 5.2-million young people aged between 6-19 and approximately 26-million adults aged between 20-69 have hearing loss because of excessive exposure to noise.
These figures are worrying, but it is possible to avoid noise-induced hearing loss. Avoiding noisy environments is an obvious answer, but as this isn't always possible, the solution is to wear hearing protection. By doing so, you can minimize the damage that takes place within the ear canal and increase the longevity of your hearing.
Types of hearing protection
There are three main types of hearing protection available, including:
Earplugs are moldable foam plugs that are inserted into the ear canal. They can be bought from most pharmacies and grocery stores, and they are sometimes recommended for employees working in noisy environments. As well as protecting the user from excessive noise, earplugs have other functions too. They protect the ears from the intrusion of dust particles, water, and foreign bodies, so their value both in and out of the workplace shouldn't be underestimated.
Earplugs are a convenient way to protect the ears as they are small and lightweight. Disposable and reusable earplugs can be bought from most stores, but some people prefer to wear custom-molded earplugs, and these can be ordered from a hearing health professional.
Unlike regular earplugs, semi-earplugs aren't inserted into the ear canal. They are placed just over the ear canal and are connected by a rigid headband. These can't be custom-made so are not suitable for everybody, but they are easy to use and are required in some workplaces.
Ear defenders, also known as earmuffs, are made up of two primary parts. There is the headband, which is usually made from metal or hard thermoplastic, and then there is the ear protection part, which is made of acoustic foam. The foam absorbs the sound waves, thus reducing the amplitude of the waves to ensure hearing protection. The headband also plays a part in protecting the ears, as its shape and rigidity can affect how tight the cups are around the ear. A tighter fit can increase the level of ear protection.
Ear defenders are a sensible choice, especially in those workplaces where they don't need to be worn constantly. They can be taken on and off as needed, which is useful, as they can become uncomfortable to wear after prolonged use.
Choosing hearing protection that is right for you
We all have different requirements when it comes to hearing protection, so it's important to choose the type that is right for you. To help you determine which type of protection is suitable for your needs, make an appointment with a hearing health professional. They will evaluate your hearing needs and the noise levels you face in or out of work and recommend the hearing protection that is right for you. By taking this simple step, you will do much to protect your hearing health, so don't delay booking an appointment if you need professional assistance.