If you are one of the 30-million Americans over the age of 55 who has some
3 Things You Should Understand About Hearing Protection
Millions of people experience hearing loss each year. There are numerous reasons for losing your hearing. While age-related hearing is common, it is often thought that younger people do not experience hearing problems, which is not the case. You can experience hearing issues at any age, and there are many contributors to ear damage.
However, you can get help if you understand the following:
- Your hobby and job will contribute
- Ear protection is necessary
- You can take proactive action
Lifestyle is a significant factor in hearing loss in younger people. For example, you may listen to deafening music, attend concerts or go plane spotting. Unfortunately, any of these will expose you to sounds over 85 decibels (dB), which is extremely dangerous.
Hobbies and Jobs Can Cause Ear Damage
Hazardous sounds are all around you. For example, congested roads, loud music and even busy restaurants can cause severe ear damage. In addition, a hobby such as playing in a music band, working on a building site or using devices for your job, such as a siren, is dangerous. As a result, you risk developing severe hearing conditions, some of which, like tinnitus, are irreversible.
Regular exposure to loud sounds for a prolonged or continuous basis will cause damage. Audiologists recommend you take all precautions to protect your inner ears. Fortunately, most people prefer the quiet. Therefore, exposure to loud sounds typically occurs at work or infrequently. However, some accept noise exposure as part of a hobby. Such hobbies include attending music festivals, playing in a band, plane spotting and marksmanship.
Additionally, your work environment may contribute to ear damage. Hazardous sounds over an extended period will lead to severe symptoms. Work at places like construction sites, airports, and busy restaurants often exceeds safe levels of sound exposure. Typically, these environments reach sound levels over 85dB. Therefore, ear protection is required.
Depending on your specific situation, you will be subject to varying audio types, requiring different kinds of ear protection. If you are regularly exposed to loud sounds as part of your hobby or job, you will need ear protection as a standard. Otherwise, your ear health is at risk. It is also recommended that you see an audiologist regularly.
Common Types of Ear Protection
If you are exposed to loud sounds for your job or hobby, you could develop audio-related issues if you don’t protect your ears. Conditions like tinnitus and hearing loss are common with musicians like Phil Collins. This makes a case for the use of audiologist-recommended ear protection. Various types of hearing protection are available, each with specific benefits suited to each situation.
Earplugs are usually disposable and are designed to be inserted all the way into the ear canal. These plugs offer the best level of noise reduction available at around 33dB. In addition, because they seal the ear, the sound pressure that can reach your eardrum is reduced. In turn, this provides excellent protection and significantly reduces the chance of hearing damage.
Semi Ear Plugs
These types of plugs aren’t inserted into the ear all the way and therefore do not offer you the same amount of protection as full plugs. Semi-insert plugs are recommended for temporary use, such as visiting a manufacturing plant rather than working at one. For these scenarios, they offer good protection. Still, the quality, size, and brand will make a difference to the product’s efficacy.
Ear defenders are robust, sturdy and work over the ears for maximum protection. Therefore, they are suitable for dangerous conditions such as working at a building site. The strength and safety of ear defenders mean they are often worn by airport staff to protect against the high-frequency sounds of jet engines that will reach more than 100dB. More expensive models are fitted with electronic volume adjustments that control the decibel level.
Take Action Against Hearing Issues
Millions of people experience hearing loss. However, it is more common in the past between the ages of 65 and 75. Yet, hearing loss can occur at any age. Therefore, if you show any symptoms, you shouldn’t dismiss it as something that only happens to older people.
Hearing loss can begin from the age of 25 and may be exacerbated by your lifestyle and career. Therefore, protection is necessary against ear trauma, wax or infections. Unfortunately, hearing loss often happens slowly and gradually. As a result, you may not even notice something is wrong until it becomes severe.
Muffled sounds and trouble following a conversation clearly indicate you need to see an audiologist. Also, regular exposure to loud sounds from hobbies and your job will cause damage over time. Audiologists will perform a series of discrete and painless tests called an audiogram. In addition, they can examine your ears for other issues like wax and infections. Further, an audiologist will recommend non-prescription treatments and offer professional advice.
For more information on hearing protection and to book an appointment with an audiologist, please contact us at Imagine Hearing Solutions at (530) 392-4533.