3 Tips for Choosing the Right Hearing Protector
The world is a loud place, with so many noises out there that can lead to hearing loss, difficulty communicating and general damage to your hearing – which is why so many people turn to hearing protection. Permanent damage is incurable, so it’s essential that you reduce the amount of exposure that you have to powerful noises.
There are two main options of hearing protection available:
- Earplugs (either disposable or reusable)
But how do you know which options of hearing protection are right for you? With so many available on the market in different colors, sizes and materials, it can be hard to decide which is the perfect choice for your requirements. To help make the decision a little easier, here are our three top tips:
Think about the amount of noise reduction you need
Before purchasing a hearing protector, you need to determine how much noise you need to block out. In order to reduce your exposure so that it’s to a safe level, you also need to pay attention to the level that each hearing protector can offer. For example, many look for hearing protection that will cover 10 dB of noise.
This will sit within the NIOSH recommended limit of 85dBA for industrial workers. Similarly, a musician will require hearing protectors that sit within the same level of noise reduction – someone that plays the drum will create anywhere from 90 to 130db.
If you’re in a louder environment, however, you will of course require higher levels of noise reduction. By asking your audiologist for recommendations on the type of hearing protection that’s right for your specific requirements, you’ll get a better idea as to which type is the most appropriate for you.
It’s important to keep in mind that overprotection can also be damaging - resulting in you feeling less aware of what’s happening around you. So, it’s always a good idea to seek noise reduction that sits within the recommended exposure of 75-85 dBA.
Consider your lifestyle
There are plenty of careers out there, alongside those mentioned above that will expose you to high levels of noise. And although many workplaces now make you wear hearing protection, not all businesses do.
Do you need to use the earplugs/earmuffs for long periods of time throughout your working hours? Or is it only intermittently during the day? When considering this, you’ll have to take into account which type is most suited to your daily tasks – i.e. if you’re working on an industrial site, earplugs might not be as suitable as you’ll have dirty hands that are exposed to germs.
Your hearing protector needs to be transportable and adjustable so that you can easily remove it if need be – for example, if your boss is trying to talk to you, you don’t want ear protection that’s hard to remove. However, this doesn’t mean that it should be poorly made either, as this could result in unsafe levels of noise seeping through and damaging your hearing in the long term.
Put convenience and comfort at the forefront
When you’ve narrowed down the type of hearing protection you require that’s suitable for your daily tasks and the level of exposure you need, it’s time to think about which is the most comfortable.
No one wants to wear hearing protection that’s uncomfortable, hard to adjust and inconvenient – especially if you have to wear them frequently throughout the day. Many people opt for earplugs due to their simplicity and the fact that they don’t put pressure on your head.
Lightweight and easy to store, they are quick to apply when you’re in unexpected exposures. However, earplugs aren’t the most effective in terms of fit. Although they come in a variety of sizes, it can be difficult to find a pair which will snuggly fit and drown out the noise.
If you’re unsure as to which earplugs will fit correctly, you should contact your audiologist. Guiding you on the shape and size, they will point you in the right direction.
Earmuffs, on the other hand, tend to come in one size. The most common type of hearing protection to be found on worksites, many people opt for them due to their easy fit. They can also be replaced quickly, making them the preferable choice for infrequent use. Although they are more expensive than earplugs, they are a lot more durable and can be used more than once.
Discover more today
Do you want to find out more about the Audiology and Hearing Aid Center? Then don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today at 920-969-1768. We can guide you on how to choose the right hearing protector and general enquiries regarding hearing loss.