The weather is still warm which means you may still be wearing less layers, but that doesn't necessarily apply to your ears! Before you tackle yard work, crank up the tunes, watch the big game or hop on your motorcycle, make sure you aren’t putting your hearing at risk.
How Loud is Too Loud?
The inner ear has an extremely complex and sensitive structure full of nerve endings that communicate sound to the brain. Over time and with repeated exposure to loud noises, these nerves can become permanently damaged, and can even break off, causing hearing loss and the distortion of sound.
How do you know when something is too loud? The answer may surprise you. If you are speaking at a normal distance, about 3 to 4 feet away from another person - and you can't be heard without raising your voice, you most likely should be wearing hearing protection.
Comparison of Noise Levels
Check out the decibel scale below to see how certain things rate in terms of noise level. One thing in common amongst everything on the scale, they ALL require hearing protection!
Options for Hearing Protection
Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) come in many different shapes and sizes and noise ratings, or Noise Reduction Ratio (NRR). The most basic option, small brightly colored foam ear plugs, can be purchased at a local drug or hardware store and are great in a pinch as long as the Noise Reduction Ratio is appropriate for the level of noise you'll be exposed to.
Circumaural headphones, the headphones worn over your ears, typically have a higher NRR and provide an easy to use, more foolproof method of hearing protection than foam plugs.
And if you're looking for a more comfortable and discreet option that offers a high level of protection, custom molded HPDs are a sound investment (pun intended) that tend to last several years. These are available through our offices at Advanced Specialty Care and can be made for a variety of situations including power tools, musician's earplugs, shooting firearms, etc.
As our Audiologist, Jocelyn Dore (pictured above) reminds us, “Hearing protection is additive. This means that if your canal-worn ear plugs have a noise reduction rating of 15 dB and the headphones have a noise reduction rating of 20dB, worn together, you have a 35dB rating.”
At Advanced Specialty Care, we have a team of expert audiologists who will work with you through diagnostic testing, hearing and communication solutions, noise protection options and more. To schedule an appointment in one of our Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk or Ridgefield offices, call (203) 830-4700 today.
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