Whether we encounter loud noise deliberately, like going to a rock concert, or inadvertently as we travel through our daily lives, it is undeniable that our hearing is affected. In general, the more sustained loud noise we have been exposed to, the more we are susceptible to hearing loss as a result. Over time, age-related hearing loss is one of the most common health complaints in the country.
There are two general types of hearing protection equipment: earphones (headphones) and earplugs. Each is appropriate for specific tasks, and their use overlaps to a certain degree. Some people in very loud work environments use both. There are specific-use products within these two categories, each designed to help with differing tasks.
Earplugs come in many sizes and shapes. They can be separate or connected with a string. They are used any time you are in loud environments that do not require headphones. Headphones or earphones are used in the loudest environments: shooting and hunting, airport fields, heavy construction equipment and others.
Let’s look at some specialized hearing products:
Musician’s ear monitors
Most people have seen stage musicians wearing monitors at shows. They are designed to allow as much music as possible through to the eardrum while protecting the ears from concussive and driving sound that can be damaging. This type of hearing protector is recommended for those working in loud music venues like waiters, bartenders and show personnel operating lighting and sound displays.
Shooting produces one of the most concussive sounds that we encounter. Shooting earphones contain a small valve that closes when shots are fired. The concussive sound wave hits the valve before it can reach the eardrum. The valve, when open, allows shooters and hunters to hear more sound around them that conventional earphones would allow.
These products are not designed to defeat sound but to protect from constant exposure to water and pressure. Swimmers use earplugs to protect against the constant flow of water into the ears as they swim.
For more information about hearing protection, call Audiology Associates today.