Protecting Your Hearing

Exposure to sounds in our environment that are loud can damage our hearing permanently and/or cause tinnitus, especially if we subject ourselves to them frequently. Sources of sound that are loud and have the potential to damage our hearing include music, power tools, and engines, to name a few. The louder the sound, the shorter the time we should expose ourselves to it. More importantly, wearing hearing protection when loud sounds are present will reduce the permanent impact it will have on our hearing, which will help to prevent irreversible hearing loss. Foam or wax earplugs are widely available and can be conveniently carried with us. They provide a decent barrier from the loud sounds, though custom earplugs shaped to our specific ears offer more protection, especially when worn at the same time as over the ear headphone-type hearing protection. The amount of hearing protection you choose depends on the type and volume of the sounds you are exposed to and how often. Of course, an alternative to wearing hearing protection is to remove yourself from the loud sound source or turn down the volume so it is low enough to be able to have an easy conversation.