HEARING PROTECTION

The world in which we live can be a noisy place and there can be times when environmental sounds are dangerously loud to be exposed to; whether at work, in public events such as firework displays or music events.

Equally, with music becoming more portable, on our phones and MP3 players we are listening to music for much longer periods of the day, and potentially at high levels. Over time, risky listening habits can permanently damage hearing or cause tinnitus, affecting our ability to hear the music we love as well as conversation at home or at work.

How can you protect your hearing?

A wide range of technical hearing protection products are available. Quality ear plugs will reduce the overall level of sound while maintaining an even balance across the sound spectrum. This means that you can still hear everything clearly, although the overall sound level is reduced. The greater the number of decibels of attenuation by the ear plugs, the better overall protection they offer.

Non-custom ear plugs. This type of ear protection is seen as the most basic form. Plugs can be made out of:

  • Memory foam (where the plug is rolled up and inserted into the ear canal)
  • Silicone (which is rolled into a ball and pressed into the ear to mould over the ear canal)
  • Flanged (where they achieve a seal down to their tapered shape)
  • Tapered ear plugs inserted into the ear to obtain a seal against the noise

One of the advantages of non-custom ear plugs is that they are disposable and therefore more hygienic. Non-custom plugs are also available fitted with specific filters for use in a variety of situations including at work, on aeroplanes, at parties and whilst asleep.

Ear muffs or defenders

Ear muffs or defenders have cups lined with sound-deadening material.  The protection usually comes from acoustic foam which absorbs sound waves by increasing air resistance, thus reducing the amplitude of the waves.

Custom hearing protection

Customised earplugs, which attenuate sounds across all frequencies rather than just low and mid-frequencies, can be of particular interest to musicians looking for ear protection.  These ear plugs are designed to protect your hearing, while delivering clear and natural sound across all frequencies.

Depending upon the environment you are in, different levels of protection will be required. Before purchasing any ear plugs discuss you needs with an audiologist/private hearing aid dispenser/manufacturer who will be able to recommend an appropriate product. Impressions of your ears will be taken by an audiologist or private hearing aid dispenser and sent to a manufacturer to be turned into an ear plugs.

Hearing loss caused from noise exposure can be permanent, but is preventable.

 

Source: Hearing Link

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