Prevention

Did you know that hearing loss can be prevented? It absolutely can! Here at Audiology Associates, we don’t just care about helping you hear better – we want you to hear as well as you can for a lifetime. This means that we are also educators on how to protect the hearing that you have for years to come!

We have expertise in industrial screenings, hearing protection for hunting and recreational shooting, and we specialize in helping musicians listen safely. Visit our music page to learn more about these musician-specific items!

Types of Hearing Protection

One of the most basic tasks of the summertime is also the most dangerous to your hearing health: lawn mowing. It’s become such a basic component of our weekly routine that we forget how great an effect a lawn mower can have on our hearing. The average volume of a lawnmower while in use is 95 dBs, and, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), any sound louder than 80 dBs is considered “potentially hazardous.”

Custom Earplugs: A Sensible Solution

Custom EarplugsLuckily, your have a practical solution that will keep your hearing in tact while you keep you lawn in check:

Custom earplugs are made specifically for your ears’ particular shape, and can help to reduce the discomfort and poor fit typically associated with standard foam or rubber earplugs. Additionally, this type of hearing protection is considered safer for long-term use than foam or rubber plugs since they aren’t placed as deep in the ear canal and are gentler on your ears’ sensitive skin.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
Block out a lot of noise (NRR ratings ranging from NRR 25- NRR 29) More costly initially
Comfortable due to the custom fit Have to have professional do an ear impression then wait for the finished product
Sturdy and long lasting (3-5 years approximately) With time the size and shape of your ear can change requiring you to get a new custom plug
Remake warranty from most manufacturers Easy to misplace
Available in all different shapes, styles, colors, and sizes Require good hygiene practices
Small and easy to carry Can cause minor irritation of the ear canal
Convenient to use with other PPE (personal protection equipment) – can be worn with ear muffs for added hearing protection More mass depending on the style
Comfortable for long periods of time Possible discomfort with other personal protection equipment
Convenient for use in confined areas
Available in hypoallergenic material
Multiple options (solid or filtered to allow for better communication)

Disposable Ear Plugs

Disposable EarplugsDisposable EarplugsDisposable EarplugsEarplugs

Advantages: Disadvantages:
Block out a lot of noise (NRR ratings ranging from NRR 21- NRR 33) Difficult to fit properly
Comfortable May contribute to cerumen (wax) impaction
Inexpensive More time consuming to insert
Convenient for use in confined areas Easy to misplace
Available all over and in all different shapes and sizes Require good hygiene practices
Small and easy to carry Can cause minor irritation of the ear canal
Convenient to use with other PPE (personal protection equipment) – can be worn with ear muffs for added hearing protection Hygienic risk if hands are dirty and need to compress the ear plug for insertion
More comfortable for long periods of time (can be worn in hot or humid areas)

Good Fit - Poor Fit
Fitting Earplugs

Ear Muffs

Hard Hat Ear MuffsRadio Ear MuffsEar Muffs

Advantages: Disadvantages:
Block out a lot of noise (NRR ratings ranging from NRR 22- NRR 31) Bulky and large
Easy to put on and take off Can become very warm if worn for long periods of time
Large Variety of shapes, colors, functions Difficult to localize sound
Hygienic as they do not go inside the ear canal Uncomfortable for long periods of time
Re-usable More expensive than disposable options
Less likely to misplace due to their larger size Can cause difficulty hearing speech
Sturdy and can replace specific parts (i.e.  the cushions, tension head band, etc.) Less convenient to use with other PPE (personal protection equipment) – can be worn with ear plugs for added hearing protection