Harmful sounds can come from all kinds of sources and various situations. Even relatively mundane activities such as listening to music, walking past a construction site or inspecting something as part of your job can contribute to hazardous effects on your ears that can lead to long-term damage such as tinnitus and hearing loss.

Noise levels of 85dB or greater are considered harmless, so eating at a busy restaurant, riding a motorcycle or attending a music concert could all potentially cause damage to your ears.

Many everyday scenarios deliver louder-than-desired sounds to our ears, but you may need hearing protection for the following reasons especially:

  • Noisy work environment
  • Loud hobby
  • Continuous use of headphones

The majority of people are exposed to loud noises as part of their job and hearing protection is required for many work environments while taking part in loud hobbies can result in hearing and ear damage and using inadequate headphones when listening to loud music for prolonged periods can be dangerous.  

Noisy work environment

Work environments can be the main contributor to hazardous sounds. There are obvious situations such as working on a construction site, as part of an airport ground crew or some form of industry, but other ear-damaging working environments could include working at a busy restaurant, a truck driver or even a street cleaner near a busy road.

All of these are typically over 85dB and might require adequate ear protection. The situation itself and the types of sounds you are subjected to will dictate the type of ear protection that you require but some of the best include full-insert earplugs for maximum protection, semi-insert earplugs for infrequent use and ear defenders for blocking high frequencies.

Loud hobby

As well as or in addition to a loud work environment, it is possible that you often expose your ears to extra, loud audio sources as a part of your hobbies. While most hobbies are mundane and relaxing, there are the more active types that might require ear protection. These include such things, plane and train spotting, hunting or playing a musical instrument.

For example, standing under the flight path of a jet plane could expose your ears to over 130dB of sound which can potentially cause serious issues, so ear defenders are advised. Hunting could see you develop hunter’s ear, a condition that affects the ear on the side of the shooting shoulder and prolonged exposure to music may cause tinnitus, so musicians’ earplugs are advised by any hearing health professional.  

Continuous use of headphones

Whether in a band or not, you might be a prolific listener of music using headphones. Many headphones are not designed with ear protection in mind and can cause serious conditions with prolonged and continuous use. If you listen to music a lot, then you will seriously need to consider changing your listening habits or purchasing more suitable devices.

Cheaper headphones don’t block external sounds very well and therefore force you into listening to music at a higher-than-recommended volume that can cause damage to your ears. It is advised that you purchase noise-canceling headphones that have been designed to filter and block all external sound so that you can clearly hear music at a much lower and safer volume.