Approximately 26 million Americans currently live with hearing loss due to sound exposure above comfortable decibels. While you can’t completely avoid noise, you can shield your ears from its damaging effects. But, sometimes, one loud bang can burst your eardrums, reiterating the importance of ear protection. That said, here are frequently asked questions you should get answers to.
Which Hearing Protection Products Are Available?
There are various hearing protection types, but the most important thing is to choose one that is comfortable and functional. Regarding the available types, you will find the following quite helpful:
- Custom earplugs
- Foam earplugs
The disposable foam earplugs work well for persons living and working in moderately noisy environments. You can still hear conversations around you without strain to make out what is being said, although you have them on. Custom earplugs, just as the name sounds, are made to fit your ears. These are often used as ear protection by specific groups of people engaged in their line of work.
For example, musicians, factories and construction workers protect their hearing while in the studio or on-site. Because these are custom-made, the hearing health professional takes an impression of your ears to get the right fit for you. On the other hand, earmuffs block sound significantly, are incredibly comfortable and are mainly used at shooting ranges and motorsports activities.
How Long Do Hearing Protection Products Last?
Disposable earplugs are usually made from foam and discarded after a day or two due to foam’s tendency to accumulate dirt and bacteria build-up. Therefore, to avoid ear infections, you have to discard them for another. On the other hand, plastic earplugs will last longer if cleaned daily and after each use.
If your choice is the custom earplugs, you can be assured that they can last for five years. Furthermore, they can be cleaned with diluted hydrogen peroxide or soap and water without causing damage to them. Finally, earmuffs are the longest-serving hearing protection aids you can have. Additionally, they are easy to clean, and their design makes it convenient to replace worn-out or damaged parts, if necessary.
Why Do I Need Earplugs If I’m Nearly Deaf?
Nearly deaf does not mean a total loss of your hearing sense, as your inner ear continues to maintain some of its natural and essential functions. Therefore, you would be saving yourself from progressing to an even worse stage of hearing loss by wearing earplugs. Therefore, your nearly deaf status is worth preserving.
Can Hearing Aids Serve as Earplugs Too?
To some extent, the answer to this question is yes. However, this has more to do with modern hearing aids. These types are designed and manufactured with some Software responsible for cutting back on excessive sounds or noise. For example, some modern hearing aids have Software that blocks out or reduces sirens and traffic sounds.
For instance, the in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid can provide ear protection for sounds less than 20 decibels, especially when it is vented. When unvented, hearing protection can go above 20 decibels. With that said, the only reason your hearing health professional may advise against using hearing aids as protection is that they can easily get dislodged. It’s especially true when your hearing device does not fit snugly in your ear. Sometimes, with a loose device fitting, a simple movement of your jaw joint will displace the aids, ultimately defeating the purpose of ear protection.
Can Hearing Aids Be Worn Under Muff Protectors?
You can attempt this, although it may give rise to other problems as well. Whether you’re wearing the in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids, you can still use your earmuffs to provide additional protection. The only downside to this is, earmuffs can generate heat and cause humid conditions in the ear and damage the hearing aid.
Therefore, it would make sense to take out your hearing aids at the close of the day or as often as possible to air dry them. Proper ventilation of your hearing aids will increase their lifespan. Remember to clean your hearing aid to prevent moisture from seeping in.
You should continuously protect your ears and their functions from pollutants such as noise and dirt. Moreover, you cannot undermine the importance of protecting your ears, regardless of your hearing loss degree. For all your hearing loss help and anything else you need to know about improving your hearing, you may contact Hear Again America at (877) 905-9493.