Every day, we are exposed to variable volumes of sound in our environment, at work, at home, and at play. Normally, these sounds are at safe levels that do not damage our hearing. But sounds can be harmful when they are louder than 85 decibels (dB), even for a brief time. These sounds can damage sensitive structures in the inner ear and cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss.
Fortunately, noise induced hearing loss is entirely preventable by following these steps:
- Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noises. This includes concerts, sporting events, guns, ATVs and snowmobiles, motorcycles, truck or jet engines, power tools, or simply listening to music too loudly. These noise levels can reach 110 decibels (dB) or more, which puts your hearing at risk in a matter of minutes.
- If your job exposes you to loud noise, your employer is required by OSHA to supply hearing protection.
- Turn down the volume whenever possible.
- Limit the number of noisy appliances running at any given time.
- Buy quieter products. Many appliances list dB ratings in their specifications.
- Know which noises cause damage and avoid them
- Move away from an unsafe sound source, whenever possible
- Have your hearing tested if you notice a loss or sudden change in hearing
Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs)
There are a variety of hearing protection devices (HPDs) available, such as earbuds, earmuffs, and earplugs. These reduce sound, although they do not block out sound completely. All HPDs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that indicates the number of decibels (dB) the HPD eliminates. This ranges from 0-35dB. The higher the NRR the better the protection. For example, an HPD with an NRR of 25 will reduce harmful noise by 25dB. So exposure to a 100dB sound would be reduced to 75dB which is much safer (100-25=75).
In choosing the right HPD, make sure your device fits properly. If it doesn’t fit, it won’t protect your hearing.
Custom hearing protection goes beyond the kind of earplugs you buy at the drugstore. Custom devices come in a variety of sizes, colors, and types. They are designed to fit the contours of your ear perfectly, offering a snug, comfortable fit, while protecting against dangerous noise. Custom hearing protection may be used for a variety of occupational and recreational activities, which include music, water sports, sleeping, studying, and hunting. Whatever your lifestyle or need, Comprehensive ENT has custom solutions for you.
Hearing Protection and Monitors For Musicians
Professional and amateur musicians, music teachers and others that work in the music industry have unique hearing protection needs. It’s important to protect against the prolonged exposure to sound, however, standard HPDs distort or muffles sound, making playing, performing, teaching or working with music difficult. Specialized musicians’ earplugs reduce the decibel exposure without distorting or altering the sound. In-ear monitors replace the need for large, bulky floor wedges that deliver sound unevenly and at damaging levels. Custom in-ear monitors allow you to hear the mix you want while suppressing ambient noise.
Hearing Protection for Hunters
Hearing protection for hunters provides the option for a filter that closes during gunfire to protect the ears but stays open all other times, so you hear ambient noise. Other models amplify ambient noise while suppressing the sound of gunfire.
Hearing Protection for Watersports
Custom earplugs keep out water to prevent ear infections while custom earmolds prevent exposure to water and wind that result in surfer’s ear.
Hearing Protection for Sleep
Whether your bed partner snores, you work irregular hours and need to block out noise, or travel to noisy cities, sometimes it can be difficult to sleep. Custom earplugs fit comfortably while suppressing noise to provide the quiet you need to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Hearing Protection for Motorsports
Don’t let your hearing protection interfere with your helmet fit. Custom solutions fit in the ear canal to protect against wind noise without interfering with the fit of your helmet.
Hearing Protection for Occupational Exposure
For those working in loud or industrial environments who need a better fit.
For those looking for a better fit for any earbud style earphones.
Call Comprehensive ENT at 303-798-1309 for more information or to schedule an appointment.