HEARING PROTECTION


“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

Ways to Protect Your Ears from Hearing Loss

Industrial workplace noises, gunfire, loud music, and other common, everyday sounds that are louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. Just how loud is 85 decibels? Take a look at these decibel ratings and permissible exposure times provided by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NIOSH/CDC.)

Occupational Noise and Hearing Protection

According to the NIOSH, approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, causing an estimated $242 million per year to be spent on worker’s compensation due to hearing loss disability. As a result NIOSH recommends “all worker exposures to noise be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss.

NIOSH also recommends a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.” Additionally, NIOSH recommends a hearing loss prevention program that includes the use of hearing protection devices, periodic hearing tests and education for workers along with administrative controls that include accurate record keeping, evaluations and audits.

Hunting Ear Protection

Hunting requires one to have the ability to hear very soft sounds, while still protecting the ear from the peak noise levels of a shot gun blast. Fortunately, hunters have many options for protection. Not only can they choose from custom or over-the-counter ear plugs or ear muffs, they can also choose protection devices that provide amplification while reducing the sounds of gunfire down to a safe level.

Ear Protection for MusiciansProfessional musicians work in a high decibel environment in which hearing loss, tinnitus, hyper-sensitivity to sound and sound distortion can result.

Traditional earplugs will not work for the professional musician, as they reduce sound by muffling low-to-mid-range frequencies. Special musicians ear molds are available that can protect the musician’s ears from loud sounds without distorting what they hear. Many products are available that will even enhance the music experience.

Benjamin Franklin got it right when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Just as you would take preventative measures to protect yourself from heart disease or diabetes, it pays to protect yourself from hearing loss.

Recreational Shooters

As many as 50 percent of all recreational shooters may suffer some degree of hearing loss. It is generally thought that loud noises in excess of 90 decibels are harmful to hearing over prolonged exposure. Most gunfire exceeds 130 decibels and requires reliable, quality hearing protection. Using ear protection can prevent needless and permanent damage to hearing.

Electronic earplugs enhance the sounds around you. For example, you can hear game movement but also reduce impulse sounds such as gunfire, down to a safe level. This helps prevent damage to your hearing. Electronic earplugs are available in custom molds as well as standard, less expensive alternatives.

Law Enforcement – If you are involved in law enforcement you undoubtedly know how important your sense of hearing is to being effective on the job. You may also have experienced a situation where firing your weapon has temporarily reduced your ability to hear. And if it hasn’t already happened, there may be a future situation where your partner or a member of your team will be forced to fire their weapon in close proximity or in a confined area. The potential damage to your hearing could be severe and could result in irreversible hearing loss.

Industrial Hearing Protection

Loud, constant sounds all day long at work can cause long term hearing problems. Loud, sudden noises (gunfire, industrial noises, woodworking, motorcycles, loud music, motorized lawn equipment, noisy hobbies and other noises louder than 90 db) are more damaging to hearing than regular and extended exposure to loud sounds over a period of time. When properly fitted, earplugs can significantly reduce loud noises and prevent hearing damage and loss. Hearing protectors not properly fitted to the wearer’s ears do not effectively prevent damaging noises from penetrating the ear canal.

Ear Protection for MusiciansProfessional musicians work in a high decibel environment in which hearing loss, tinnitus, hyper-sensitivity to sound and sound distortion can result.

Traditional earplugs will not work for the professional musician, as they reduce sound by muffling low-to-mid-range frequencies. Special musicians ear molds are available that can protect the musician’s ears from loud sounds without distorting what they hear. Many products are available that will even enhance the music experience.

Benjamin Franklin got it right when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Just as you would take preventative measures to protect yourself from heart disease or diabetes, it pays to protect yourself from hearing loss.

Recreational Shooters

As many as 50 percent of all recreational shooters may suffer some degree of hearing loss. It is generally thought that loud noises in excess of 90 decibels are harmful to hearing over prolonged exposure. Most gunfire exceeds 130 decibels and requires reliable, quality hearing protection. Using ear protection can prevent needless and permanent damage to hearing.

Electronic earplugs enhance the sounds around you. For example, you can hear game movement but also reduce impulse sounds such as gunfire, down to a safe level. This helps prevent damage to your hearing. Electronic earplugs are available in custom molds as well as standard, less expensive alternatives.

Law Enforcement – If you are involved in law enforcement you undoubtedly know how important your sense of hearing is to being effective on the job. You may also have experienced a situation where firing your weapon has temporarily reduced your ability to hear. And if it hasn’t already happened, there may be a future situation where your partner or a member of your team will be forced to fire their weapon in close proximity or in a confined area. The potential damage to your hearing could be severe and could result in irreversible hearing loss.

Intensities of Common Sounds in Decibels

SOUNDS

INTENSITIES

PERMISSIBLE EXPOSURE TIME

City Traffic (inside of car)
85db
8hrs
Bull Dozer
88db
4hrs
Jazz Concert
91db
2hrs
Power Mower
94db
1hr
Night Club
97db
30min
Ambulance Siren (inside; driver window down)
100db
30min
Rock Concert
Leaf Blower
115db
30sec
Ambulance
125db
Jet from 100ft
135db
Gun Shot
145db
12-guage Shot Gun
165db

Intensities of Common Sounds in DecibelsFor a complete listing of over 1700 noises and their corresponding decibel levels, check out the Noise Navigator.

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