Most of us think of audiologists as health professionals who diagnose and treat hearing loss. But audiologists also can help patients prevent hearing loss by providing education and information about the damage exposure to loud noises can cause, and advising patients regarding the best hearing protection devices for their individual needs.
Most Hearing Loss Is Due to Exposure to Loud Noise
Though some hearing loss is caused by a health condition or is hereditary, most is caused by exposure to loud noises. Both the level of noise and the length of time you listen to the noise can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibel level, the louder the noise. Sounds that are louder than 85 dB, such as a lawn mower, a gunshot blast, or fireworks, can cause permanent hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to high noise levels also can damage the hearing system.
How Does Noise Damage Ears?
In any case, the damage occurs when loud sounds reach the inner ear and destroy the tiny hair cells lining this fluid-filled chamber. Once these hair cells are damaged, there is no treatment to repair them. This process can occur from exposure to a single loud noise, or after years of overexposure to loud noises.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Is Preventable
Because hearing loss is permanent, the best treatment is prevention. In many cases, simple over-the-counter earplugs or earmuffs that can be purchased at drugstores, hardware stores, or sports stores may prevent hearing damage.
However, you may want to consider custom earplugs if you are frequently exposed to loud noises. An audiologist can advise you regarding the best hearing protection for the specific activity. For example, there is a wide range of earplugs available for musicians.
Earplugs for Musicians and Music Lovers
Some are non-electrical earplugs which contain custom filters that make specific sounds in the music spectrum softer without compromising the overall musical experience. Custom in-ear musician monitors use technology to deliver a noise reduction between 25 and 35 decibels, while letting musicians listen to their music or a custom mix of vocals and instrumentation as they perform live or work in the recording studio.
Music lovers often prefer custom in-ear monitors for use with performance, practice and even personal listening devices such as MP3 players. They offer brilliant sound quality built into a comfortable custom-fit earpiece.
Hearing Protection Devices for All Walks of Life
As a professional audiology practice, Associated Audiologists specializes in preventing hearing loss. Our audiologists offer many types of custom hearing protection devices including:
- Electronic Hunting Protection
- Filtered Hunter’s Protection
- Motorsports Protection
- Musicians’ Earplugs
- Sleep Plugs
- Solid Protection
- Water Protection
A word of caution: Custom hearing protection should not be purchased over the internet.