The world around us is loud, and if we’re not careful, it could cause permanent damage to our hearing. Earplugs are the best way to protect your hearing health. Below we review how loud sounds cause damage and the best earplugs for you based on your hearing and lifestyle needs.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
Within the inner ears are delicate hair cells called stereocilia, which convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy these cells, resulting in permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
Any sound over 85 dB can cause this type of damage. For reference this is about the level of passing highway traffic or a busy café. Common sounds that can cause damage include:
- Music through headphones
- Fitness classes
- Children’s toys
- Bars and restaurants
- Sporting events
- Motorized sports
- Movie theaters
- Power tools
Types of Earplugs
Below are the three tiers of hearing protection.
Disposable earplugs are a great option for those on a budget. Made out of foam that is rolled before being inserted into the ear where it expands, disposable earplugs are available at Paseo Oaks Pharmacy hardware stores and sporting goods stores.
Reusable earplugs are a mid-tier option that are slightly more expensive but still widely available. This type of earplugs is made out of a sturdier material like silicone or plastic. Some have filters that reduce the muffled sound associated with foam earplugs.
Custom-molded are the gold standard of earplugs, as they provide maximum comfort and protection. They are made from impressions of your ear and created in a lab. This option is best for people exposed to loud sounds on a daily basis. There are also specialized versions of custom earplugs. For example, hunter’s plugs block the loud sound of a gunshot while allowing ambient sounds through, while musician’s plugs reduce the volume without reducing sound quality.
For more information about custom hearing protection or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Decibel Hearing today.