Hearing Protection Guide
Remember the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” This is really the case with your hearing. Exposure to loud noise and failure to wear hearing protection can make you lose your hearing before you know it. This loss occurs so gradually, you may not realize it’s happening.
You may not be aware until it’s too late. Physiologically, loud noise severely damages the inner ear. The damaging potential of noise depends on the length of exposure and the sound pressure level. Although you may have the earplugs in place, are they really “in”? Make sure you’re getting the full protection from your ear plugs by rolling the plug up between your fingers, pulling back your ear and inserting them completely in the ear canal as intended.
Hearing protection is a serious issue. One out of ten Americans has been affected by hearing loss already. Some of the most common causes of hearing loss and inability to understand normal speech are exposure to loud noise for extended periods, noisy working conditions, head trauma and old age among others.
The bottom line, however, is that the louder the sound you are exposed to the higher the risk of losing your hearing.
So how much noise can the human ear handle and how much is that measured? Normally sound is measured in Decibels (dB). Professional hearing protection experts do agree that exposure to noise levels of about 80-85dB can cause hearing loss.
If you want to know just how damaging the sound you are listening to is, just pay attention to that ringing sound that comes after.
The absence of such symptoms does not mean that there is no damage to your ear. In most instances, ear damage usually goes unnoticed until it’s too late.
Long-term exposure to loud music or loud explosive noises will lead to permanent hear damage. But there are different ways to protect your ears.
You can use the highest rated hearing protection products that will protect your ears even in noisy places.
The surest method of preventing occupational deafness is to reduce noise at the source by engineering methods. However, in certain workplace conditions, there is very little or nothing one can do to reduce noise at the source. In such workplaces, workers wear hearing protectors to reduce the amount of noise reaching the ears.
Let’s look at some tips that will help you get the most comfortable hearing protection for healthy hearing.
Avoid listening to loud music
Since music is usually entertaining, it is easy to turn up the volume on our earphones without realizing the rising noise levels.
You will know your music is too loud when it’s preventing you from hearing external sounds.
Also if the person next to you can hear the music coming from your headphones, then the volume is too loud for your ears.
Put on earplugs
Long exposure to loud noise increases the chances of hearing damage. Make use of ear protectors or simply get away from the noise as fast as possible.
If you don’t have earplugs and you can’t leave the area, be sure to take some 10 to 15-minute breaks to help your ears recover.
Loud noise can also create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals.
A great way to listen to your music without having to turn up the volume is to use noise canceling headphones. Although they can be pricey, they are highly rated hearing protection equipment that block background noise allowing you to comfortably listen to your music.
Put on ear protectors
If there is a lot of noise at your place of work, it is advisable to consult your HR department to get hearing protection. You can get earplugs or earmuffs when working with noisy machines.
Detoxify your ears
Always give your ears time to recover after coming from the loud music. Experts reveal that your ear will need about 16 hours of recovery after listening to 2 hours of 100dB music or noise.If you ignore this recovery period and go back to listen to loud music, you might end up with permanent ear damage.
Signs and Symptoms of Early Hearing Loss.
- Muffled or distorted hearing
- Difficulty hearing sound such as birds singing, crickets chirping, alarm clock, watch alarms, telephone or door bells.
- Difficulty understanding conversations over the phone or while participating in group conversations.
- Pain or ringing in the ear (tinnitus) after exposure to excessively loud sounds.
Always remember that it is up to you to protect your ears from damage. Whether you are in a music concert, at a noisy workplace or just listening to your iPod, understand that a difference in volume should also reflect in the length of time you are exposed to the sound.