We live in a noisy world where people, machinery, vehicles, and even the weather make all kinds of sounds that can be both fun and bothersome. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to various sounds and loud noises can cause damage to our hearing over time, and sometimes this damage is irreversible.
While the best way to prevent this from happening is to avoid being in the presence of too much noise, there will probably be times when that won’t be possible. In this case, your only option is to wear hearing protection to reduce your noise exposure and reduce the risk of hearing damage.
However, with the different types of hearing protection available, it may be difficult to know which one is best for you. To help you along, we share five tips on how to pick the right hearing protector.
Choose the right hearing protection type
In general, there are several types of hearing protection, with earplugs, earmuffs, and semi-insert earplugs being the most popular ones.
For instance, earplugs are the most common choice among users. They fit nicely into the ear canal and are inexpensive and portable. They are also available as disposable and reusable and can be custom-made depending on your needs.
On the other hand, semi-earplugs don’t go fully into the ear canal, but they stay in place just over it by a rigid headband that connects the earplugs together. They cannot be custom-made and don’t suit everyone.
As for earmuffs, they fit over the ear and offer better protection from high-frequency noise. Their only downside is that they are quite expensive and bulky, making them uncomfortable for certain work settings.
Consider the level of noise, frequency, and duration of exposure
Other factors you should also consider when choosing the right hearing protection for you are the level of noise, frequency, and duration of exposure. The thing is you want to choose a hearing protector that will block enough noise to reduce your exposure to a safe level, which is around 70 dBA.
In general, loud environments such as concerts and construction sites often demand higher levels of noise reduction. However, for these situations, make sure you don’t choose hearing protection that will reduce sound too much. You still want to be aware of your surroundings while protecting your hearing at all times.
Think about your work environment
Another thing you should keep in mind when choosing the right hearing protector for you is your work environment.
For instance, if you work on a construction site and have to wear other head-level personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection, a hard hat, or a respirator, you need to think about the compatibility of your hearing protection device with the PPE you might be using. You need to make sure that your PPE doesn’t interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection.
It is because of this reason why many users choose to wear earplugs as protection because they are small and are the least likely to interfere with any other PPE you may be wearing.
Consider comfort and fit
Considering comfort is also very important when choosing the right hearing protection. After all, you will be wearing your hearing protection most of the time, so it is only reasonable that you choose a type that suits your preferences and matches your unique needs. Think about your working environment and the type of activities you do on a daily basis so you can choose between earplugs or earmuffs.
Also, don’t forget to ensure your hearing protection fits properly. You want the earplugs or earmuffs to be the right size so they don’t routinely slip or allow external noise to damage your hearing. If you need help making the right choice, consult with a hearing specialist for assistance and guidance.
Although there are occasions when we can control the volume of noise to which we are exposed, there will be others when that won’t be possible. In this case, your only option is to wear hearing protection to reduce your noise exposure while also protecting your hearing ability.
However, in order to choose the right hearing protector for you, there are a few things you need to consider first. Use our post as a reference and select the best hearing protection that matches your unique needs.