How Hearing Protection Prevents Hearing Loss

man in his garage cutting wood while wearing yellow over the ears protectors

Hearing loss is a major concern for anyone that is exposed to loud sounds for a prolonged period of time. Whether you work in construction, travel as a musician or even do a lot of garden maintenance, there’s a good chance that you’re exposing yourself to loud sounds on a regular basis. In fact, some of the most common sources of loud noises are listening to music, visiting social events and using power tools. It only takes around 70 decibels (dB) for us to start experiencing hearing loss. At 120dBs, hearing loss can happen almost immediately.

Thankfully, hearing protection is a great solution to help safeguard our ears from damage. But how exactly does hearing protection work and when is it applicable?

How Hearing Protection Works

Hearing protection works by reducing the sound levels that enter our ears. You can think of it as a barrier that helps to block some of the sounds before it reaches the hair cells in our ears. While they can’t block out noise completely, their purpose is to reduce the sound so that it reaches an acceptable level that won’t damage our hearing.

For instance, power tools can typically reach a noise level of over 85dBs. This means that after around two hours of exposure, you will likely start to experience hearing loss. However, if you reduce the sound with hearing protection, it could be lowered to around 70dBs which is at a level that won’t cause hearing loss but could be a slight annoyance to you.

Hearing protection typically has a noise reduction rating attached to it. This tells you roughly how much you can expect the hearing protection to reduce sound levels. For example, if a pair of earplugs have a noise reduction rating of 15, then it can reduce harmful noises by roughly 15dBs. In the previous example of power tools reaching a noise level of 85dBs, this means that wearing those earplugs can reduce the sound to an acceptable level.

What Hearing Protection Should I Use?

There are many different types of hearing protection that you can use. The two most common types are earplugs and earmuffs.

Earplugs are usually inserted into the ear canal and can take many different forms. There are simple earplugs that are a fixed shape, but you can also find foam earplugs that can shrink and expand inside of your ear canal so that they create a tighter seal. You can also have custom earplugs made that fit the exact shape of your ear canal for more comfort.

Earmuffs are worn over the ear and typically use thick padding to reduce the sound around you while providing extra comfort. These are universal and won’t require a custom shape to fit your ear, and they’re also a little easier to take off and give to others to use when needed.

Whatever your needs are for hearing protection, it’s important to consider getting a solution that can provide making comfort, sound reduction and convenience.