It is widely known that when sound reaches a certain level, it can be harmful to hearing. Eight-five decibels is the safe threshold; noise over this level has the potential to over time, cause hearing loss. To prevent against this, those who are regularly exposed to loud noise must use ear protection to help guard the health of their hearing. 

What is less well-known, is just how common exposure to potentially unsafe levels of sound is. Far more people than one may initially expect could benefit from the use of ear protection, so it is worth asking.

Could you benefit from ear protection? 

If any of the following apply to you, then yes, you could well benefit from ear protection: 

  • You work in an environment where sound exceeds 85 decibels: As touched on above, those who work in loud environments can benefit from ear protection, which is most often supplied by their employer. If you work in a loud environment and do not currently have ear protection available, discuss this with your boss as soon as possible. 
  • You go to concerts, gigs, or nightclubs: All types of music events have the potential to exceed the safe hearing threshold, with the potential to reach between 110-120 dB. 
  • You take fitness classes: The World Health Organization have stated that fitness classes can often result in exposure to sound that is significant enough to damage hearing.
  • You attend sports events: On first thought, sports events may not seem particularly loud – but crowd noise can easily see the decibel level creep over 100. In 2014, Kansas City Chiefs fans reached 142.2 dBs – which is a world record but is a great example of just how loud a sporting event has the potential to be.
  • You participate in certain hobbies: Many hobbies involve exposure to harmful levels of noise; shooting, can mean exposure to up to 175 dB, while playing an instrument can also be problematic: violins, for example, can reach 103 dB, and trombones up to 114 dB. 
  • You use power tools: Most power tools used in and around the home will exceed the 85-dB safe limit; an electric drill, for example, can reach 95 dB, while chainsaws can exceed 120 dB.
  • You use certain appliances: Routine household maintenance can also result in exposure to sounds above 85 dB. leaf blowers can reach up to 110 dB, while lawn mowers are up to 90 dB.

What type of ear protection are available?

The goal of ear protection is to reduce potentially harmful levels of sound to a more manageable, safer level. There are several different types of products that can achieve this; earplugs and earmuffs are the most commonly used forms of ear protection and can even be used together in order to deliver addition protection.

If you want to explore ear protection for yourself, then arranging an appointment with an audiologist is strongly advised. An audiologist will be able to discuss your specific requirements and make a recommendation as to which type of ear protection may be best suited to your individual needs and lifestyle.