Custom Hearing Protection
Hearing protection is extremely important for anyone who is regularly in a very noisy environment, including target shooters, motorcyclists, airline pilots, musicians, construction workers, and factory workers. The truth is that anyone subject to noise exposure may need to wear hearing protection to protect their long-term hearing. The following noises are especially dangerous with repeat exposure: lawn mowers, truck engines, motorcycles, garbage trucks, chain saws, pneumatic drills, rock concerts, gunshots, and jet engines, to name a few.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011- 2012, approximately 70 percent of people exposed to loud noise never or seldom wear hearing protection. The best thing you can do to prevent hearing loss whenever exposed to loud noise is to use adequate hearing protection.
Sudden or prolonged exposure to noise can cause damage to your hearing. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Hearing loss from prolonged noise exposure is often detected too late, meaning the hearing loss is usually irreversible.
How loud is too loud?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that noise exposure levels should not exceed 70 decibels (dB) over a 24-hour period, and 85 dB over a 1-hour period to avoid hearing impairment.
What are the symptoms of possible hearing damage?
You should visit your hearing specialist if you notice the following symptoms after exposure to loud sounds lasting longer than a day:
- Voices suddenly sound muffled and your ears feel stuffy
- You experience ringing or buzzing in one or both ears (also known as tinnitus).
- Your ears hurt after being in a loud place.
- Your hearing is suddenly sensitive to noise.
How can you prevent hearing damage?
Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented with the use of custom hearing protection and in limiting your exposure to loud sound levels.
How does custom hearing protection help?
Custom hearing protection, such as earmolds and earplugs, help to reduce the sound intensity, though, they do not block out sound completely.
What types of hearing protection are available?
Although store-bought earplugs offer some protection, customized earmolds and earplugs offer maximum protection and a comfortable fit designed specifically for your ears. They also offer more peace of mind, as you will know that your ears have the best possible protection against hearing loss.
Earmolds come in a wide variety of sizes and types. Some earmolds are solid, and some are soft or spongy. The most popular styles are full-shell and half-shell. Full-shell earmolds are generally for high-level noise exposure, while half-shell earmolds are for mid-level noise exposure. The type of earmold your hearing professional recommends will depend on your individual needs.
Some earmolds come with a filtered attenuator, allowing for verbal communication while still protecting hearing; this is popular with musicians. These types of earmolds come in both electronic and non-electronic models. Earmolds are also popularly used to fit over certain earbud headphones, under pilot boom-mic headsets, and other specialty uses.
As the name implies, custom earmolds are specially made to fit the unique contour of your ear. If you cannot get a comfortable or secure fit with traditional earplugs, custom earmolds may be for you. They offer some of the best hearing protection available.
What can Apex Audiology do for you?
At Apex Audiology, we make custom earmold impressions for a wide variety of uses:
- In-the-ear musician monitoring (electronic) earmolds.
- Sleep Earmolds
- Summer swim plugs (impressions and plugs)
- Hunter Hearing Protection earmolds
- Noise, music & loud concert reduction earmolds (you can still carry on a conversation if desired)
- Industrial noise protection earmolds
- Cellphone headset earmolds
- Hands-free device earmolds
- Sporting devices earmolds
- Bragi Hearables earmolds (impressions or Hearables can be ordered here)
Earplugs are a form of hearing protection usually reserved for the canal only. Some earplugs are solid, while others allow more sound to pass through. Specialized earplugs are available for musicians and medical professionals who still want the ability to hear most of their surroundings while protecting their hearing. Earmolds and earplugs are not just for those who wish to protect their ears from high noise levels. Custom solutions are also available for other types of ear protection, such as custom earplugs for swimmers.
Specialty earplugs can be custom-fit to your ear canal and are usually more comfortable than traditional earplugs. These earplugs are created by taking an impression of your ear to have them fit the individual shape of your ear canal. Custom molds are comfortable and reduce the sound equally across high and low spectrums, making this earplug ideal for musicians and concertgoers. They are available with or without handles and detachable cords.
Whatever your unique lifestyle, your hearing specialist can provide custom hearing protection to fit your needs. Your hearing is important. Take care to protect it for today and for the future. If you work in an environment with a high noise level, it’s important to have regular hearing appointments to check for early indications of hearing loss. Speak with a hearing specialist today to find the right solution for your unique situation.
Contact Apex Audiology at (719) 247-9000 to schedule an appointment. We will help you explore all the different custom earmold and earplug options available. We offer a wide variety of custom hearing protection at very affordable prices. For your convenience, you may also schedule an appointment online.