Loud noises can be painful if they get above 85 decibels (dB). When they get loud enough, those noises can even begin to cause hearing loss. The amount of exposure is halved for every 3 dB increase above the 85 dB limit, so it doesn’t take long for loud noises to cause hearing loss. That’s why the best hearing protection for you is so important. It can literally save your hearing.
Choosing the best hearing protection means combining the right product type to the type of activity you are planning. Going to a concert, for example, requires different hearing protection than going out to the gun range or working out on a busy airport tarmac. Here are the choices that you’ll need to make to best protect your hearing.
- How loud are the sounds going to be? You have two basic options for hearing protection: ear plugs that go into your ears or sound reducing ear muffs that you wear like over-the-ear headphones. Plugs tend to work better for lower noises and short-term wear. Over-the-ear hearing protection tends to work better for the loudest noises and long-term exposures. The best earplugs for concerts are a good compromise solution if you want strong noise reduction without over-the-ear protection.
- Certain activities require certain products. If you enjoy water sports, then the best ear plugs for swimming are going to be one of the better hearing protection choices you have today. Being out at the gun range means electronic noise reduction might be a better option for you – there are a number of different options for ear plugs for shooting. Working in high noise environments will require comfortable hearing protection because you’ll be wearing your preferred product for an extended period of time. Always try to match up the product designed for your activity for best results.
- Sometimes disposable hearing protection options are adequate. If your partner is snoring like crazy, then having some earplugs designed to block snoring close to the bed can help you get some rest as well. Disposable hearing protection made from soft silicone will conform to your ear so that a complete blockage can occur inside the ear cavity. This allows you to sleep in your preferred position with less noise, reducing the amount of wake-ups which occur due to snoring.
- Adult hearing protection is not designed for children. Although it seems like you could get away with stuffing in some soft earplugs made for adults into a child’s ear, this isn’t your best solution. The ears of children are more sensitive to loud sounds, have smaller ear canals, and have fewer natural protections from the lobes to reduce noise. Babies and toddlers especially need to have special hearing protection in place to protect their development from the damage that loud noises can cause. Be sure to invest in hearing protection for kids/babies to protect them if you’re taking them to loud events like air shows, concerts, NASCAR, etc.
- Now let’s address the concert issue. Standing in front of a loud amp can make for wonderful memories when you see a favorite band. It can also quickly damage your hearing without adequate protection. The same is true for musicians who are playing gigs on a regular basis. Music is expressive, beautiful, and wonderful – and hearing protection doesn’t ruin that. Most concerts run in the range of 100-120 dB, even if you’re standing near the back of the crowd. You’ll want to have the best earplugs for musicians or concert-goers that can reduce noise by 20-30 dB at minimum to protect your hearing for a concert that lasts an hour or two.
- What about when you’re riding your motorcycle? Some motorcycles are known for the loud noises they make. The sound might be a thrill, especially if you’re riding the rocket that is making the noise, but a long ride can also cause some permanent hearing loss if you’re not careful. The best motorcycle earplugs will keep noise levels below the damage threshold, yet still let you hear enough ambient noise during your ride so that you can stay safe.
The best hearing protection for you depends on your activity preferences, the structure of your ear, and how much noise you expect to have your ears exposed to for a specific duration of time. In general, longer and louder exposures require more extensive hearing protection. Earplugs for sleeping, on the other hand, can be quite basic in nature and still get the job done.
Find your best solution today so that when the loud noises come tomorrow and into the future, you’ll still be able to hear them because you’ve protected your hearing the best way that you can.