Hearing Protection Basics

Jan 12, 2018

Hearing Protection: Should You Be Using It?

Hearing loss is a condition that affects one in 10 people in the U.S., and although the majority of those cases are age-related, there are also many cases that could be avoided with the use of hearing protection. Exposure to excessive noise levels can cause severe damage to hearing over time, and it's essential to understand how to protect your hearing if noise conditions are at excessive levels.

Excessive Noise and Hearing Loss: What are the Risks?

The human ear is made up of three parts: the inner, the middle and the outer ear. Excessive noise levels can cause nerve endings in the inner ear to become damaged, and prolonged exposure can eventually destroy those nerve endings completely. As each of those nerve endings become damaged, hearing loss becomes worse, and there's no way to restore hearing once this damage occurs. The longer you're exposed, and the louder the noise levels are, the more serious the damage can be. In addition to hearing loss, there are other conditions and problems that can be caused by excessive noise levels. Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that can vary in intensity, which is often permanent. Sudden loud noises or prolonged excessive noise can also cause stress and irritability in some people, and it can also be a dangerous distraction that could pose health and safety risks to you and others around you.

Understanding Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR)

The good news is that there's a health and safety legislation in place to help you to choose the best hearing protection -- the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) system grades an ear plug's ability to reduce and eliminate noise when it's worn. For example, earplugs with an NRR of 30 would potentially block out or reduce the intensity of excessive sound up to 30 decibels (dB).

Protecting Against Excessive Noise

The best way to protect your hearing from being damaged by excessive noise is to wear protection such as earplugs or over-the-ear protectors, which are also known as ear muffs. Noise isolation is essential when operating loud machinery, in a noisy environment or being exposed to short bursts of sound from firearms or pneumatic drilling equipment. If you're employed by a company, it's usually the company's responsibility to supply you with suitable hearing protection. If you work for yourself, it's your responsibility to seek out the right protection. The problem with equipment supplied by an employer -- especially if it's shared between a number of people -- is that adjustable fittings can often be subject to overuse and cause over-the-ear protectors to become loose or damaged. This means that the hearing protection is no longer able to block or isolate noise as well as it once did, and this could cause a risk to your hearing. The same problem can occur with conventional earplugs. Everybody's ears are shaped differently, and one-size-fits-all earplugs can pop out or feel tight, causing discomfort to the user.

Eliminate the Noise and Risk with Custom Molded Earplugs

The good news is there's now an answer to uncomfortable and ineffective hearing protection in the form of custom molded earplugs. They're molded to perfectly fit your ears, and are designed to offer supreme comfort and are the ultimate in noise isolation. They stay in place, can be worn without any problems for hours at a time and are also very easy to fit and take out as required. Don't risk damage to your hearing or the hearing of your employees. Custom molded earplugs offer the best protection against excessive noise levels and ensure total comfort throughout the working day.