Ingliz
Hearing Loss

How can I protect myself from noise-induced hearing loss?

We are approaching the time of year that we would class as a sensory explosion!

Whilst a sensory explosion sounds delightful, we have to be mindful of noise-induced hearing loss. Football season has begun, Halloween and bonfire night are approaching and then obviously we have THE event of Christmas. During the next 4 months, we will often be exposed to some very loud noises. Therefore, we’re here to help you prepare and ensure your ears are well protected.

Event that could cause noise-induced hearing loss


How is sound measured?

Sound is measured in decibels (dB). So that you can understand the context of decibels, we have outlined some common sounds and their average dB level:

  • Conversation – 60dB
  • Washing machine – 70dB
  • Lawnmower – up to 90dB
  • Power tools – 100 dB
  • Nightclubs, bars and concerts – up to 110dB
  • Ambulance, police and fire sirens – up to 120 dB

Prolonged exposure to any sounds which are over 70 dB could cause damage to your hearing. Exposing yourself to any noise over 120 dB could unfortunately cause immediate damage. Loud noise can cause damage to the delicate structures in the ear. This could cause temporary hearing loss; from a few minutes to a few days. It could even result in experiencing the symptoms of tinnitus. As stated above, one instance of loud noise could cause damage to your hearing but it is more likely that exposure to loud noise over a long period of time will be the problem.

How can I protect myself from noise-induced hearing loss?

There are a few different types of hearing protection that you can use to avoid noise-induced hearing loss when being exposed to loud noise.

  1. Earplugs: Earplugs are a great option for everyone as there are a variety available at different price points. These are small plugs you can fit into your ear. Some can even be manufactured specifically to fit your individual ear, although these ones carry an additional expense. You can get both disposable and reusable earplugs; disposable ones are made out of foam and should be discarded after use, whereas reusable ones are made from rubber and silicone.
  2. Earmuffs: These are easier to wear than earplugs and often much more durable. Earmuffs are comprised of two ear cups attached via a central headband. The headband is usually made from metal or thermoplastic, with the actual earmuffs being cushioned for comfort. You can simply wear these like a headband ensuring they are fully covering your ears.
  3. Noise Cancellation Headphones: The annoying droning noises such as washing machines, air conditioning units or trains can be expertly blocked out by these types of headphones. They don’t carry a noise reduction rating like the previous two but will undoubtedly help you to block out such noise.

What is a noise reduction rating?

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as us saying you should use earplugs for one situation and earmuffs for another. No one hearing protection solution works in the same way for every individual and it is important to bear in mind the level of noise you will be exposed to before deciding what to use. Noise protection products usually come with a noise reduction rating so it is best to check this before making a purchase. If the rating is 22, it means that the product will reduce the noise level by 22 decibels (dB).

The environment that you are using the hearing protection in should be taken into account when deciding what to use. If you need to be able to continue to communicate whilst protecting your hearing, you should think about looking for hearing protection that comes with an acoustic filter. If you need hearing protection for working on a building site where your hands are likely to get dirty and there is a lot of dust in the air, then it would be advisable to go for earmuffs rather than earplugs to reduce the amount of debris that is going into your ear.

How do I know which is the right ear protection for me?

Any hearing protection that you decide to wear needs to be comfortable, particularly if you will need to be wearing it for a considerable period of time. Some people find non-custom earplugs uncomfortable if worn for a long period of time. The most comfortable earplugs should fit just inside your ear canal without causing any pain or discomfort. The earplugs should fit properly and not be too loose or too small.

Earmuffs should fit snugly around your ears but should also allow your skin to breathe properly. Some earmuffs feel very forceful over your ears which is perfect for shutting out the noise but are obviously not comfortable for a long period of time. You can get earmuffs with varying degrees of fit. Again, you should also consider the environment you are using the protection in. If you are working in a noisy environment outside day after day then it would be helpful to look for weather-resistant protection.

Finally, the most important thing when considering hearing protection, is that it fits correctly. You need to ensure that the sound is blocked out for the protection to work effectively. If you feel you’d like any further advice with regards to protecting your hearing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch here.

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