Without further ado, here are our top hearing safety tips to keep your ears healthy and your hearing clear.
Do you know how many decibels you can be safely exposed to before you run the risk of hearing damage? It might surprise you!
Hearing damage is possible at 85 decibels and higher – but you’d have to be exposed to sounds at this level for more than 8 hours without hearing protection to risk possible damage. To put that into context, 85 decibels is roughly equivalent to heavy city traffic.
At 91 decibels, hearing damage is possible after 2 hours without protection. Not sure what 91 decibels sounds like? It’s what a loud car radio sounds like – so be careful if you’re on a long journey and blasting the tunes out loud!
At 100 decibels, it can take just 15 minutes to damage your hearing. Concerts and festivals tend to be around 97 decibels, while nightclubs are 100 decibels – so if you’re partying all night long, you could be putting your ears at risk.
Once you know how loud different everyday situations can be, you can start to identify when hearing loss prevention needs to come into play. If you often find yourself in noisy environments, it’s a good idea to use hearing protection.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not just about how loud a noise is, but how close you are to it, too. If you stand right beside the speakers at a concert, for example, you’re more likely to be at risk of hearing damage than if you’re right at the back of the room.
Some high-risk situations when you might want to consider using protective hearing devices include:
- Bars (94 decibels)
- Concerts and festivals (97 decibels)
- Nightclubs (100 decibels)
- Rock concerts (104 decibels)
- Construction sites (noise levels vary – forklifts can reach 90 dB, while bulldozers average 96 dB)
- Using power tools (different tools vary, but all are loud – for example, hammer drills can reach 120 dB)
The best way to keep your hearing safe is to use hearing protection. That’s because it’s designed to reduce the amount of noise that reaches your ears. Earplugs and earmuffs offer ear protection from noise by creating a physical barrier that reduces the intensity of sound reaching your ears.
If you’re at a concert that’s 97 decibels, that could potentially cause hearing damage within 30 minutes if you don’t use hearing protection. That’s why it’s important to look out for hearing protection that offers high levels of noise reduction. Loop Experience earplugs, for example, offer 18 decibels of noise reduction. That reduces the sound level of a concert from 97 decibels to 79 decibels, which is a safer level.
The main types of loud noise ear protection are earplugs and earmuffs.
Earplugs are small, soft devices that are inserted into the ears. There’s several types on the market, including:
- Foam earplugs: These are usually cheap and are often designed to be single-use. They tend to muffle sound rather than filtering it, so you might find that they work better for some situations than others – they might not be ideal for wearing during concerts, for example, as the sound quality won’t be as clear, but they could work well if you’re doing noisy DIY!
- Silicone earplugs: These are soft, reusable earplugs. Some, like Loop Earplugs, are specifically designed to filter sound rather than block it out, meaning you can still have conversations with others around you or enjoy the full festival experience without your favorite bands sounding muffled.
- Custom-molded earplugs: These are individually tailored to fit the specific shape of a person’s ear. They offer a super precise and comfortable fit, and offer excellent noise reduction – but they are very expensive!
Earmuffs are another option to protect against noise. There are two main types of earmuffs: standard and electronic.
Standard earmuffs have a simple and effective design which blocks out noise, while electronic earmuffs incorporate technology such as built-in microphones and speakers. They’re more expensive but they also allow the wearer to communicate better. Both types of earmuffs are particularly useful when it comes to preventing occupational hearing loss.