Hearing loss due to loud noise exposure is the only hearing loss that is 100% avoidable!
How Loud is Too Loud?
The loudness level or intensity of a sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). A sound that is 85dB in intensity is safe for a period of 8 hours. Every three decibels over this cuts the safety time in half. That means 88dB is safe for only 4 hours and a sound of 97dB can cause permanent damage to your hearing organ with just 30 minutes of exposure. If you ever experience a ringing sound in your ears after being exposed to loud noise or music, or a muffled feeling in your ears, you have exposed yourself too much. Another rule of thumb is that if you have to shout to hear a person standing one arms length away, the noise level could be damaging. One way to tell for sure is to use a sound meter app on your cell phone. One that I often use is called Decibel 10th; it’s free and available on android and iphones.
Dangerously loud noise exposure may occur recreationally or at work. Some dangerous sounds include power tools like chainsaws, equipment like leaf blowers, snowmobiles, ambulance sirens, gun shots, nightclubs, step class or aerobic classes and jazz or rock concerts. Some jobs that expose individuals to loud sounds are mechanics, electricians, HVAC, DJs, construction workers, dentists, chefs and musicians.
Dangerously loud sounds not only can cause hearing loss but it can also cause tinnitus (constant noise in ears/head). Tinnitus robs you of the ability to enjoy peace and quiet.
How Can I Protect My Ears?
There are a number of different options for hearing protection depending on the type of exposure. At Salus Hearing Centre we can make you custom noise plugs that have about a 30 noise reduction ratio for individuals who want to protect their ears. We can also create custom filtered earplugs (aka musician earplugs) if you need to be able to hear speech while in a loud environment. These are ideal for musicians and people who attend concerts. We can also order electronic earplugs for hunters and earmuffs for children.
Foam earplugs are often found in pharmacies and range in noise reduction ratio. These plugs tend to cut down too much sound and can make it unsafe for an individual who has to be aware of his surroundings.
There is no excuse for not protecting your ears. Turn down the volume and roll up the windows. Hearing is one of your 5 sense organs. It’s what connects you to your environment, your friends and your family. Call us today for a hearing protection consultation to find the right hearing protection for you.