When you work in a noisy environment or simply mowing your lawn; you use some sort of hearing protection. Using hearing protection is a must when you go to hunting or shooting range.
I see a lot of people use the wrong types of hearing protection devices to protect themselves. Sometimes, when you need to use double hearing protection but you are not doing that, you are seriously damaging your ears.
As per the study of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), more than 22 millions of U.S. citizen expose themselves to damaging noise and at least 10 million of them suffer from some sort of hearing loss issue.
Types Of Hearing Protection Devices
Unless you don’t use the right type of hearing protection, the device won’t do much. So, I will try to explain all those hearing protections types so that you can use the right one for your particular task.
- Irritating Foam Earplugs
It’s basically one-time use the only device. Since they are only one-time use only device, normally they are given to the visitors who may be exposed to a noisy environment while visiting a factory or something.
Foam earplugs are really cheap and like all the cheap pieces of stuff, these earplugs really can irritate the ears.
Comes in a lot of varieties and qualities. But they completely cover the ear and depending on their NRR rating, they can block almost any loud noise. Some earmuffs can let you hear all the ambient sounds while blocking the noises simultaneously.
Now, if you go for the cheap one, they can still irritate your ears. So, if you are planning to use it for the lawn mowing or electronic ear protection for shooting, don’t go for the cheap one.
Earmuffs are available in both electric and non-electric form. When you need to hear ambient sounds, go for the electric kind.
- Less Irritating Silicon Earplugs
Just like the foam earplugs, they are also one-time use and used for the same purposes. The only difference is this they are made from the less irritating material, so they are a little bit costly than the traditional foam earplugs.
Though they are less irritating for the ears, they often fall off the ears which is definitely problematic. Usually, they come in yellow colors and they cover only the auditory canals of your ears.
- Otoplastics Hearing Aid
If you go to any concert, you will notice the singer usually uses this. Motorcyclists are particularly very fond of it. They are basically custom hearing protection. You can adjust it to any current noise level you face.
So, how does it help? The damper of the otoplastic does the magic of significantly reducing the harmful noises. No matter how loud, the damper will make it below 80 dB.
They last several years and this is basically customized hearing protection. The maintenance is fairly easy as well. Since a part of it will go directly into your ear, you have to clean it regularly for the hygiene purpose.
- One Time Use Only Wax Balls
Let’s recap again. The problem with foam and silicon earplug is that they don’t fully cover your ears. Well with wax balls, you can completely cover your ears. This will actually block all the outside noise (it’s just a feeling).
But like the foam and silicone earplugs, it is also one-time use only and hence cheap. But not cheaper than the silicon earplugs.
- Universal earplugs
As you can see there are so many types of earplugs but almost all of them have some inherent trouble. So the Alpine Hearing Protection came forward with this idea for a universal earplug.
Whereas it completely seal off your ear canal but it won’t make you being shut off from the outside world. You will have greater control of determining the muffling yourself.
Which Type Is Suitable For You?
If you can’t decide, I would recommend you meeting an audiologist. Only an audiologist can truly suggest you the right type of hearing protection considering your level of exposure to a noisy environment.
Now that you know what those types of hearing protection available for you are and what they do, please don’t choose the wrong one. Hearing loss is something very terrible and you can still be a victim of it if you don’t use the right type. Be safe!