Exposure to excessive noise levels (greater than 85 decibels) during work or other activities can significantly increase your risk of hearing loss, or exacerbate an existing hearing impairment. Going without hearing protection in the face of harmful noise levels is likely to create problems down the road, when the damaging effects on the delicate hair cells of the cochlea — the inner-ear organ that relays sound signals to the brain — begin to surface.
Concerts, sporting events, hunting, ATV riding, running power tools, or simply listening to music too loudly can all irreparably damage hearing. At times, these noise levels can reach 110 decibels (dB) or more, which puts your hearing at risk in a matter of minutes. Some sounds can damage hearing instantaneously. A shotgun blast at close range without protection can exceed 150 dB, permanently damaging your hearing in one single, fleeting moment.
Repeated noise exposure early in life can be compounded as you get older. Since the hair cells in your inner ear never regenerate, your hearing is unlikely to get any better on its own after experiencing repeated traumatic events. Hearing damage suffered during teen years may not surface until your late 20s or early 30s — or even your 50s or 60s, when presbycusis, age-related deterioration of hearing, becomes a greater factor.
Hearing protection prevents damaging noise levels by dampening the piercing sounds but still allowing you to hear the sounds you want to hear clearly. Our hearing protection goes beyond the kind of earplugs you buy at the drugstore — Kathy L. Amos, Audiology offers a variety of custom-fit hearing protection designed to fit the contours of your ear perfectly, offering a snug, comfortable fit and all-day protection from dangerous noise.
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 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, which is popular with musicians. These types of earmolds come in both electronic and non-electronic models. Earmolds are also popular for fitting over certain earbud headphones, under pilot boom-mic headsets, and other specialty uses.
As the name implies, custom earmolds are made custom 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.
Earplugs are hearing protection that are usually for the canal only. Some earplugs are solid, while others allow for 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.
Specialty earplugs can be custom fit for your ear canal, and are usually more comfortable than traditional earplugs. Custom earplugs come both with or without handles or detachable cords.
Earmolds and earplugs are not just for those who wish to protect themselves from high noise levels. Custom solutions are also available for other types of ear protection, such as custom earplugs for swimmers, hunters, and sleep.
Whatever your unique lifestyle, your hearing professional has custom solutions to fit your needs. Your hearing is important. Take care to protect it for today and for the future. If you work in a high-noise environment, it's important to have regular hearing appointments to check for early indications of hearing loss. Speak with your hearing specialist today about the right solution for you.