Using Earplugs Can Be Cool!

I am pleased to share an excerpt from my most recent article for Healthy Hearing

I remember the battles with my teenage son. He was heading to a loud dance party but was worried about wearing earplugs. He knows better than most of his peers how difficult hearing loss can be and how important it is to protect the hearing that he has, because I have hearing loss. Even so, he resisted wearing them. “My friends won’t be wearing them,” he complained, “They won’t get it. It’s just not cool to wear earplugs.” Despite his complaining, he chose to wear the earplugs and off he went to the loud party.

Like he imagined, he got lots of questions about his earplugs from his friends who were not used to seeing things in his ears. He showed them how loud the music was playing using a decibel reader app on his phone and explained that he wanted to protect his hearing.

What he didn’t expect was that his friends would want to wear them too! The music was so loud it was painful. Luckily he had brought some extra pairs so he could share them with his friends. Wearing earplugs had turned out to be cool after all!

While this story has a happy ending, the perception that wearing earplugs is not cool is a big problem, especially in today’s noisy world.

How can we make wearing earplugs cool?

1. Encourage influential role models to speak out.

More musicians are wearing earplugs and touting the benefits of wearing them publicly. This includes alternative rock musicians like Chris Martin of Coldplay and classic rock icons like Eric Clapton. At a recent Adele concert, she went out of her way to compliment the children in the audience who were wearing earmuffs for hearing protection. This type of positive feedback from people with influence will help lower stigma and build awareness.

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5 thoughts on “Using Earplugs Can Be Cool!

  1. I had a similar experience with my teen age granddaughters; both of whom have been lead singers in teenage rock bands. The girls are well aware of the barriers that hearing loss creates because of me. I made appointments for both of them with an audiologist to have musician’s ear plugs made for them. Although reluctant, they both agreed to use them when practicing and performing. Yes, the others in the band though they were weird…at first, but in time decided to get them too. The big transformation came when my oldest granddaughter stated loudly and clearly, “These ear plugs are amazing. I can hear myself sing when I wear them!”. It was well worth the $200/pair of professionally made ear plugs to reach that conclusion.

  2. Well your son can either be uncool now and wear ear plugs or be uncool later and wear a hearing aid . I had moderate hearing loss in high school and managed fairly well , used an amplified phone with little struggle , but when I graduated high school, my friends and I spent every weekend in loud bars with live bands and dance clubs. I remember my ears used to hurt and feel muffled when we came outside .Me thinking this was a cool place to be at 18, but my ears and my hearing really paid the price . As a result I developed a profound hearing loss , could no longer use a phone ,and developed severe tinnitus which I still have after 40 years . I went from a cute mini aid to a BTE super powered hearing aid. We all say if I only knew then what I know now . They really don’t teach kids enough to protect their ears and their eyes .

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