Noise pollution is still pollution: occupational or recreational hearing hazards and how to protect yourself
Even in a highly digital era there are still plenty of occupations that produce dangerously high noise levels. Think construction workers, landscapers, or musicians. Workers in these fields can regularly face noise decimals upwards of 95+. Hearing is put in harm’s way when constant exposure over 85 decimals occurs.
Exposure to noise levels this high occurs from recreational activities as well. Yes, concertgoers and gun enthusiasts, we’re talking to you. There is also a growing population of kids experiencing hearing loss as the popularity of personal audio devices and headphones continues to increase.
When it comes to noise pollution on the job, twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specific standards put in place to limit this, including monitoring noise levels and reducing exposure. Occupational noise is the most common cause of noise induced hearing loss next to aging. Fortunately there are ways to protect your hearing.
Custom in-ear noise filters
These are typically made of acrylic or soft-silicone customized to fit the ear and canal of the ear tightly. The great thing about this type of earplug is that it is designed to change shape as the ear canal of the wearer changes. For example, as the shape changes when chewing it will continue to seal. Also, this type of earplug is reusable, making it great for those faced with daily noise pollution, such as occupational settings.
Over-the-counter foam plugs
These are good short-term solutions, as they are disposable and work well for recreational activities such as attending events like firework shows. As implied, these can be purchased at local pharmacies or convenience stores. Generally inexpensive, foam earplugs are typically made of pliable soft foam that can be rolled and twisted in order to insert into the ear where it will expand to block out noise.
Otherwise known as Over Ear Headphones, these are the traditional large headphones with ear pads that typically cover the whole ear of users. Headphones with noise-cancelling technology can allow safe and comfortable listening.
The best option depends on your level of exposure to noise pollution. The most important thing to know is that there are a variety of options. If you are concerned about noise exposure, these are common options to take into consideration.