When Should You Wear Hearing Protection?
Are you worried about the level of noise your hearing is subjected to each day? The fact is that not everyone is aware of how day-to-day noises and sound levels can affect their hearing. For example, most of us will wear sunglasses to protect our eyes when the sun is out, but few of us will use hearing protection to protect our ears when exposed to higher noise levels.
How do you recognize when you should wear hearing protection? OSHA recommends that if noise levels exceed 85 decibels (dB) for prolonged periods, hearing protection should be worn. Once noise levels breach this point, it can potentially cause permanent damage to your hearing. So, when should you wear hearing protection?
If you work in an environment where noise levels are constantly high due to machinery, car engines, or air traffic noise, or in an environment where music or sound levels are increased such as mobile theatres, concerts halls and theatre, then it is worth using hearing protection to make sure you are protecting your hearing. For example, did you know some movies can breach 100dB? In addition, some people choose to wear foam earplugs when in a noisy environment to reduce noise levels, especially if they are around high noise levels for long periods.
We all know that when you go to a concert, the noise levels will be far above that of any other day-to-day noise you may encounter. If you are a frequent concert goer or you spend a lot of time in an environment where loud music is played, then your audiologist may suggest that you consider wearing hearing protection of some sort. Be it over the ear defenders who can block out high levels of noise to a more comfortable level or small inconspicuous earbuds that can provide some protection against loud sounds.
Did you know the super bowl has recorded levels of over 107dB? This can be said of any major sporting event, and if you are a frequent visitor of live sporting matches, then being in the presence of sound levels over 100dB for over 15 minutes can be enough to have a profound effect on your hearing. So, while you might feel wearing hearing protection will reduce the impact of a live music event, protecting your hearing is something you can benefit from for the rest of your life.
How often do you take stock of the noise levels around your home? If you work as a cleaner or constantly run your vacuum around the house, noise levels can push past the 85dB level that causes hearing loss. In addition, power tools, radios and even children's toys can put your hearing at risk.
Talk to your audiologist if you are concerned about how noise is affecting your hearing or experiencing any levels of hearing loss, as they can help you work out how you can best protect your hearing.