Sudden or prolonged exposure to noise can cause damage to your hearing and is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Hearing loss from prolonged noise exposure is often detected too late, meaning the hearing loss is usually irreversible.
Hearing protection is extremely important for anyone who is regularly in a high-noise environment, including target shooters, motorcyclists, airline pilots, musicians, construction workers and factory workers. The truth is that anyone subject to noise exposure may need to wear hearing protection to protect their long-term hearing.
The following noises are especially dangerous with repeat exposure: lawn mowers, truck engines, motorcycles, garbage trucks, chain saws, pneumatic drills, rock concerts, gun shots, and jet engines, to name a few.
Though store-bought earplugs offer some protection, custom earmolds and earplugs offer maximum protection and a comfortable fit that is designed specifically for your ears. They offer more security in knowing that your ears have the best possible protection against hearing loss.
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 audiologist 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 ear plugs for swimmers.
Whatever your unique lifestyle, your audiologist 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 audiologist today about the right solution for you.
Dr. Jon Ashby
Dr. Jon Ashby is a University professor & who frequently presents clinical instruction and research at numerous professional conferences and conventions.