Ear protection refers to the devices through which you can protect your hearing from external as well as internal possible hazardous conditions. The external calamities like cold, water, pressure can affect our listening ability and are reversible too.
Whereas, the internal conditions like Ototoxicity, sensorineural hearing loss and most commonly aging are non-reversible but can be managed through hearing aids. The factors opted to protect ear are known as hearing protection.
But looking for any hearing device or opting for any hearing protection you should ask yourself, Do you really need hearing protection or Do you really have hearing loss? How to know! Then there are some obvious causes and symptoms of hearing loss.
Hearing loss & its causes
The hearing is an intellect that a lot of us take for granted. All through our lives, we make our ears used to loud sounds of music via earphones, power tools, without using ear safety. Unfortunately, this can reason ultimately lead to hearing loss. Some of the severe reasons for hearing loss can be,
- The normal aging process usually results in hearing failure.
- Even due to certain illness and loss of proper medications can adversely influence our hearing.
- Exposure to loud noise like bomb blasts, gunshot, and late night concerts having noise level above 110 dB can cause hearing loss. And regrettably, hearing loss that occurs from such causes is enduring.
How to know if you are suffering from hearing loss?
Some of the symptoms are given below which could suggest that you have been exposed to loud noise:
- If you hear continuous ringing or buzzing in your ears.
- If you have some difficulty in understanding the people.
So, If you are suffering from this signs then yes, you have hearing loss.
What are the methods to escape these problems?
The fine information is, if you have a slight hearing loss, it’s for no reason to delay to preserve your hearing for the years to the fore. Firstly you need to avoid some habits like:
- Avoid visiting places with loud noise and if it’s necessary then use hearing protection methods to guard your hearing.
- Also, avoid using cotton swabs to clean your ears.
And, have a baseline checking of hearing as this may help you to check the issue in time before its late. And you can overcome this situation even if hearing loss has already occurred If hearing failure is found at some stage in your hearing evaluation. It could be due to ear wax present in your ear canal or some infection.
So removing ear wax is important. This type of hearing loss is reversible and can be cured with proper medication. If hearing slaughter stems from constant exposure to high noise, aging, or definite illnesses and medications, then the hearing loss is irreversible but can be managed through hearing aids. This is the best way to protect your hearing.
But the universal saying is “Prevention is better than cure” so, your moto should be preventing your hearing rather than waiting for the condition to get worse. But why it is so important?
Why is ear protection important?
It’s very important to keep your senses in its best condition as they are the only way to transmit and receive information from the outer world. If these senses are degraded then you surely going to experience difficulties in day to day work and the living is hard.
Our auditory nerves are very soft and sophisticated which can easily be damaged but hard to recover. And once the hearing is gone it’s never the same in spite of using as many products as you can.
You cannot prevent the hearing loss but you can control the factors that risk your hearing ability. After all this, the question pops into your mind about how to protect my ear?
How can you get proper hearing protection?
Proper ear protection is a must, especially in today’s environment. All of us, whether its kids, young adults or adults, we’re all exposed to loud noises around us. It’s all because of the high volume of the TV sets, listening music using earplugs or the constantly increasing noise pollution. Therefore, the need for hearing protection is much more than we can think.
People in India actually take hearing for granted. Nobody really puts in any extra effort to protect ear avoiding hearing loss. Moreover, people should realize the importance of wearing ear protection devices such as Earmuffs, Earplugs, and Helmets while using power tools, noisy garden equipment, fire alarms, or riding a heavy noisy motorbike.
Ear protectors or hearing defenders can be found in two types: earplugs and earmuffs.
Earplugs are the ear protecting device which is inserted into the ear canal covering the outer ear portion. It avoids loud noises, foreign particles, an intrusion of water, dust getting into the user’s ear. You should carry your earplugs while walking into the concerts and workplaces with loud noises.
The swim earplugs provide the remarkable protection to the swimmer’s from ear infections like swimmer’s ear(otitis externa), infection of the middle ear(otitis media) or ear tubes. The earplugs are smaller and lighter than earmuffs so they can be easily carried. The earplugs provide its listed protection until and unless if they are properly fit into the user’s ear canal.
Earmuffs are the ear protecting device which consists of thermoplastic and metal headband which fits over the head. They are designed especially for the worker working on construction sites.
Earmuffs are usually worn in winters for providing warmth and avoiding loud noises wherein summers they can be warm and humid. They are easily fit but difficult to carry.
Earplugs Vs Earmuffs
Both earplugs and earmuffs can be found easily at chemist stores. But it’s best to buy a proper ear protection suitable for cost, comfort, and your necessity.
List of hearing protection earmuffs and earbuds to shop online
|Walker silencer earbuds||They have activated protection which saves your ear from loud noises and contain full secure fit system.||$179.99|
|Reusable super lite earplugs|
Quiet band hearing band
Plug & Go
|Form fitting, dirt-resistant, reduces 25-33 dB of noise, and highly suitable workplaces.|
Quiet band rests comfortably around your neck and are reusable.
plug and go are mostly used while travelling, sleeping, playing and to the concerts.
|Highly suitable for bikers as the bikers experience 98 db of noise while moving 120 Km/hr.|
Fly fits are specially used for travelling purpose as we may suffer from ear pressure while travelling through planes.
|Howard leight earmuffs||Reduces noise upto 30 dB, form to seal out noise, padded headband and suitable for gunshots.||$26.99|
|Bluetooth earmuffs||Can be connected with your bluetooth devices such as mobile phones, tab, and many more.||$119.99|
|Surfsafe earplugs||They are reusable earplugs especially made for water sports and swimming.||$42.00|
14 useful ear protection ways to avoid hearing loss
Some of the simple measure you can use to protect your ear from loud noise:
1. Avoid places with loud noise
The intensity of the sound is measured in the decibel (db) levels. Decibels are not the precise unit of measurement, like feet or yards. They are the scale of progression. Every increase of 10 db is significant. 10 db increment means the 10 times of the original decibel level. The main reason behind the causes of noise-induced hearing loss is being exposed to loud noise for the longer duration. You can determine loud noise as if:
- You can’t hear people speaking nearby you.
- Need to speak louder to speak with people around you.
- The sound hurts your ear.
- You have ringing in the ear.
Any sound greater than 85 dB (Decibel) is harmful to your ear when exposed to for longer duration. Some of the loud noises with greater Decibel are:
- Loud traffic noise ranges from — 70-85 dB
- Heavy engines motorbike — 90 dB
- Live music concerts and headphone — 100 dB
- Plane taking off — 120 dB
- Gunshot — 140 dB
There are many mobile phone decibel meter apps available to measure the noise level around you.
2. Use noise cancelling earphones or headphones
According to the world health organization, around 1.1 billions of teenagers and adults are at the risk of noise-induced hearing loss due to intolerable use of audio devices.
Try to use noise-cancelling earphones rather than increasing the volume of your phones in loud background noise. To appreciate music from your MP3 player securely, tune in to your music at 60% of the most extreme volume for close to an hour a day.
3. Protect your hearing during loud concerts and activities.
The level of noise during night concerts ranges from 100-110 dB. In this cases,
- Try to stay away from the loudspeakers.
- If exposed to the loud noise, give 15-18 hrs to your ear to recover.
- Try to take a break in every 15 minutes.
- Use reusable earplugs in concerts and places with loud noise.
- Earmuffs or earplugs each can decrease the loudness of sounds by 15 to 30 db.
4. Don’t accept loud noise at the workplace
- If your workplace is full of loud machinery noise or your job is to deal with loud machinery than you need to follow the following points:
- Try to shift your working area to some quiet place by consulting your HR department.
- Ask for safety measures like earmuffs and earplugs at working place.
- If you need to deal with loud machinery, make sure you are not exposed to it for the long duration.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has the power under the federal government to regulate noise in the workplace, states that staff should not be exposed to constant noise above 90 dB for more than eight hours. Some of the companies exceed this standard.
Following some points have hearing conservation programs that:
❯ Identify the area of work with potentially hazardous noise levels.
❯ Take steps to control the noise.
❯ Schedule the regular hearing test of employees.
❯ Provide the hearing protection devices to the employees like earplugs, earmuffs.
❯ Educate the employees on the disadvantages of loud noise.
❯ Provide proper care if the worker has a hearing loss to prevent further hearing damage.
5. Stop using cotton swaps
Cotton swabs are used to clear out the earwax from the ear. Ear wax is good for the ear as it protects the eardrum to rupture and avoids foreign particles entering the ear. The excessive use of cotton swabs may result in ear pain so, if you have an excessive amount of earwax in your ear then consult an audiologist or use earwax solution.
6. Take medicines with proper consultation of the doctor
Some medicine like aspirin may contain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) which affect hearing ability.
7. Keep your ears dry
Excessive moisture let bacteria to enter and grow inside the ear which may result in ear infection, most common to the swimmers with hearing loss. The swim earplugs are available to avoid water getting into the swimmer’s ear while swimming.
If some amount of water enters into the ear than, try to remove it as soon as possible.
Read more: How to remove water from the ear?
8. Take care of your Physical fitness
Yes, it’s true Physical exercises like running, jumping, cycling, yoga and walking increases the blood pumping throughout the body including the ear. The proper blood circulation keeps the internal parts of an ear in healthy condition and works at their best potential. Use safety measures while exercising as you may have hearing loss if fallen.
9. Control your stress level
Poor sleep, anxious, physical tension, stress, pills to sleep and caffeine to stay awake all these habits are also the causes of tinnitus (Ringing in the ear) which later shows the symptoms of hearing loss.
Try to avoid this bad habits as the high level of stress puts your body into a fight to flight mode and this process acquire lots of pressure on your nervous system and blood flow. This pressure can travel up to the inner ear and shows the symptoms of tinnitus.
10. Have Hearing check-ups on a regular basis
Hearing loss shows its symptoms gradually, it can occur at any time so, its required to have regular annual hearing check-ups with your healthcare consultant. This might help you to take quick action as soon as the hearing loss is acquired.
The untreated hearing loss might result in lifelong deafness and may cause other mental and physical health impairment like depression, dementia, and heart disease.
11. Turn down the dial
Turn down the volume on your TV, radio or personal computers. Indeed, even a little diminished in volume can have a major effect on the danger of harm to your listening ability.
12. Wear ear defenders
Wear ear defenders (earplugs or ear covers) in case you utilize noisy hardware on a regular basis, for example, control drills, saws, sanders or grass trimmers. Earmuffs provide the better protection to the ears against high-frequency noises. While earplugs provide the better protection to ears against low-frequency noises.
13. Beyond the Noise Protection
If you smoke, try to quit it. Avoid being around others who smoke. There is some evidence that smoking can increase the risk of hearing disorder, as well as many other health problems. Smoking may restrict the blood flow to the ears and increase the chance of hearing disorder. Some of the studies found that 70% cigarette smokers have a hearing disorder in comparison to non-smokers.
14. Have a hearing detox
Give your ears time to relax after exposing them too noisy sounds. As indicated by Action on Hearing Loss, your ears require no less than 16 hours of rest to relax if a user spends around two hours in 100 dB sound, for instance in a club. Diminishing this time expands the danger of deafness.
We hope the article would have helped you to protect your hearing. Our hearing ability is very necessary for us to enjoy a healthy life. Hence, never compromise with your health, always go for experts advise and choose the right hearing aid that fit for you. You can also contact your local hearing professionals they will suggest you many tips to protect your hearing.