Providing hearing protection is an important part of an audiologist’s job is to help prevent future hearing loss. Too much noise exposure can cause temporary hearing changes, ringing in the ears, or even a stuffed up feeling. Repetitive exposure to loud noise, however, can lead to permanent and irreversible hearing loss. This may also be accompanied by tinnitus, or ringing in the ear. Obviously, loud noise cannot be eliminated from many workplaces or recreational activities, so your hearing professional can help you find hearing protection that will provide maximum protection, comfort, and wearability.
Some of the more common hearing protection devices include:
- Expandable foam plugs. These earplugs are made from a comfortable, formable material that is designed to expand and block the ear canal.
- Custom-molded, reusable plugs. These ear plugs are made from silicone, plastic, or rubber and are available in a variety of sizes. Pre-molded plugs are relatively inexpensive, reusable, and comfortable.
- Canal caps. Canal caps resemble earplugs mounted on a flexible plastic or metal band that is worn over the head or behind the neck. Their primary advantage is convenience, allowing the user to quickly remove or replace the sound-blocking caps as needed.
- Earmuffs. These protective devices come in many sizes and shapes. They completely cover the outer ear to block out noise.
- Miscellaneous devices. Of course, we realize that not every individual will find satisfaction in the typical hearing protection, so as your hearing professional, we will listen to your needs, analyze your environment, and find a protective device that will be meet your needs – even if it’s not one that you typically find on a pharmacy shelf.
Traditional hearing protection is ideal for jobs that have constant exposure to loud noises such as construction and factory workers. If you are looking for hearing protection options for jobs that have exposure to loud intermittent sounds such as gun shots, Digital Hearing Protection is ideal for you.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are federal guidelines associated with high noise exposure and hearing conservation programs. If you feel like you work in a particularly loud environment, contact your Human Resource Specialist to see if your position is part of a hearing conservation program.