Start Your Path to Better Hearing

Hearing Protection Tips: How To Protect Your Hearing In The Workplace

shutterstock_1095179213.jpg

 

Hearing loss should not be a side effect of your job. And yet, some 30 million Americans are exposed to hazardous noise in the workplace, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Working in a factory or driving an emergency vehicle with a wailing siren are just a couple scenarios where loud isn’t just allowed, it’s part of the gig. Fortunately, you don’t have to take the aural onslaught lying down. If you feel you’re at risk of losing your hearing or developing tinnitus, talk to a qualified hearing professional. They may not be able to turn down the sound of your life, but they can give you information on the latest protective devices aimed at preserving your hearing.

The Louder The Sound The Quicker The Damage

Excessively loud sounds can damage the sensitive structures in your inner ear, particularly when your exposure to them is prolonged.  This damage can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), the only preventable form of hearing loss. To help you grasp what excessive noise sounds like, here are some examples:

 

  • Noise from heavy traffic can reach 85 decibels.

  • Motorcycles, 95 decibels

  • An MP3 player at max volume, 105 decibels

  • Sirens, 120 decibels

  • Firecrackers and firearms, 150 decibels

 

Generally, the louder a noise is, the quicker hearing loss can occur. The maximum time you can be exposed to sound levels of 85 decibels without experiencing damage is 8 hours. At 110 decibels, the maximum exposure time dwindles to just one minute and 29 seconds.

High Workplace Noise Calls For Hearing Protection Devices

If the sound level at your workplace is higher than 85 decibels, you’re at a decided risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Just a few professions that carry a high risk of hearing loss include:

 

  • Airline pilot and flight crew

  • Ambulance driver

  • Carpenter

  • Construction worker

  • Dentist

  • Factory worker

  • Gardener

  • Highway patrol officer

  • Musician

 

If you work somewhere loud and want to keep your hearing as well as your job, you’ll need to invest in hearing protection. Common forms of ear production include earplugs, earmuffs and custom earmolds.

If you work in an excessively loud atmosphere, your employer is also required to discuss the risks with you and discuss how you can best protect your hearing, as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  

How Hearing Healthcare Centers Can Help Protect Your Hearing

At Hearing Healthcare Centers, we firmly believe in the power of preventative care. So we take hearing protection very seriously. We take the time to speak to our clients about their lifestyle to determine what measures to take.

One popular way to protect your hearing is through the use of custom earmolds, which we make to fit the unique contours of your ears. Along with great protection, earmolds offer the benefit of fitting over many earbud headphones and under pilot boom-mic headsets. Some earmolds come with a filtered attenuator so you can communicate while protecting your hearing.

For people whose occupations feature high-level noise exposure, we generally recommend full shell-style earmolds. Those whose jobs feature mid-level noise may receive sufficient protection from half shell-style custom earmolds.

Earplugs, which provide canal-only protection, are another common choice. Some are solid while others are permeable enough for sound to pass through. Musicians and medical professionals who rely on communication but want to care for their ears often opt for specialized earplugs; these can be custom-fit for your ear canal, making them more comfortable than traditional earplugs.

Of course, it’s not just work but also play that can damage your hearing. If you commonly attend concerts and sports events or if you’re a gun aficionado, you may want to invest in hearing protection. We also offer custom earplugs for swimmers.

If you want to learn more about hearing protection or suspect you’ve experienced hearing loss or the onset of tinnitus due to your loud workplace, contact us to make an appointment. We can test you to determine your level of hearing loss, if any, and fit you with hearing aids should you need them.