Let’s Add Earplugs To The List

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You’ve taught your children about safety — they know to fasten their seatbelt in the car, to apply sunscreen before spending time in the sun, and to wear a helmet when skiing or biking. We have one more to add to the list — wearing earplugs in loud noise. It’s an easy habit to get into and can save your hearing!

Sunscreen is important because, although sunburned skin typically heals, the cumulative effects of sun exposure are damaging deep within the skin. With loud sounds it is even worse, because in addition to the negative cumulative effects of the noise on your hearing, the damaged tissue does not heal. This means that when you damage your hearing with noise, the loss is likely permanent.

How can you protect your hearing and the hearing of those that you love? Here are my tips.

What are the facts? Prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss. This is the level of heavy city traffic or a school cafeteria. At 105 decibels, the maximum volume of an MP3 player, some hearing loss can occur within 15 minutes. At 110 decibels, the level of a rock concert or loud sporting event, damage can occur after one minute. 

The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable! Follow these tips to protect your hearing and teach others to do the same. 

1.  Move away: Increasing the distance between you and a loud sound diminishes its impact. Move quickly away from the sound if possible. This works well when encountering unexpected noise. Cross the street to avoid a construction site or move your seat to a quieter part of a public space.

2.  Turn it down: If you have control over the source of the sound, turn it down! A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot hear someone talking next to you over the music, it is probably too loud. Decibel reader apps can help you get a feel for the right level where you can enjoy your music safely.  

3.  Protect your ears: If you cannot move away or turn it down, block the sound by wearing earplugs or earmuffs. Disposable earplugs are available in most drugstores and can be easily carried in a pocket or purse. Acoustic earplugs are also available, several at reasonable price points, that work well for music lovers. This article in The Hearing Review details the benefits and types of earplugs for musicians. Noise cancelling headphones can also work wonders on airplanes or other loud places like concerts and sporting events. Read about my experience with noise cancelling headphones here

Don’t take chances with your hearing. Once your hearing is damaged, there is not yet a medical way to restore it, although places like Hearing Health Foundation and the Stanford Initiative To Cure Hearing Loss are working on a cure.

Want more information? Visit It’s A Noisy Planet, a website run by the National Institutes of Health.

You can also follow Living With Hearing Loss on Facebook and Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Let’s Add Earplugs To The List”

  1. ACE Audiology and Hearing – BULLEEN, VIC 3105 – ACE Audiology provides hearing assessment and hearing aid dispensing services. We are Australia’s owned private business. Ace Audiology Melbourne, we are excited about our precision state of the art hearing aid technology.
    ACE Audiology and Hearing says:

    Well Shared; Thanks.

  2. MyHearGear – Author is an experienced writer and covers topics on software and hardware and hearing accessories. For more information about the author and hearing accessories feel free to contact the author at: http://www.myheargear.com
    myheargear1 says:

    Ear plugs are inserted into the ear, preventing sound waves from entering the canal, thus protecting your hearing. One advantage of using ear plugs over muffs is their functionality is not diminished by eye glasses, long hair or earrings.

    Andrew@Servoxnuvoistrutonespeechaids

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks for your comment. Some people find earplugs painful so earmuffs are a good option in this case.

  3. keren Jenings – NY, United States – I'm Professional internet aficionado. Twitter buff. Devoted zombie expert, avid creator, total bacon lover and a music practitioner.
    keren Jenings says:

    My husband just recently bought a pair of these earplugs, and it seems that he enjoy comfortable sleeps and remains more focused. Does the shape has anything to do with the effects?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      The original shape of the earplugs is not important since you squeeze them to insert them into your ears. They then expand to fit snugly. Hope that helps!

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