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Hearing Protection

Shield Your Healthy Hearing From Harmful Noise Levels

Exposure to excessive noise during work or leisure activities can increase a person’s risk of hearing loss and potentially worsen a pre-existing hearing problem. Continuous exposure to 85 decibels (dB) can have a detrimental effect on your hearing. Take for example, the noise of a street with constant heavy traffic. If the exposure to loud noise lasts for a an extended period of time, the cells responsible for our sense of hearing will be irreversibly damaged. Doctors consider exposure to loud music, such as a rock concert or via headphones, to be particularly dangerous since the sound intensity can sometimes reach 110 – 120 dB. The traumatic effect of a sudden loud sound, like an explosion, can also permanently damage hearing.

Other activities that may cause hearing loss over time include: use of a personal radio/CD player/stereo at a high volume; use of firearms; operating heavy machinery; use of power tools. The good news is that the noise in these cases is usually easily managed by turning down the volume or by wearing ear protection. Federal regulations govern allowable noise levels in the workplace, as well as the employer’s role in providing ear protection. More information on this subject can be found at www.osha.gov. In addition to using ear protection, those who are regularly exposed to noise should have their hearing tested regularly.

Certain medications are toxic to the ear. If you have a hearing loss, be sure to inform your doctor of your condition before beginning any new medications. There may be instances where other medications that are not toxic to the ear can be substituted.

How loud is too loud?

A general rule of thumb is if you have to raise your voice to be heard over the music/noise, it is too loud. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Communicable Diseases, noises above 85 dB can cause hearing damage.


Types of Hearing Protection

Since there is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, prevention is the sensible alternative. Modern devices which protect your hearing such as commercially available earplugs or custom-made earmolds with various filter systems, can give effective protection against noise.

If you are exposed to continuous noise in your leisure activities or at work, contact us for advice on the latest hearing protection methods that will benefit and best suit your needs.

In-Ear Studio Monitors for Musicians

Research indicates that musicians are about four times more likely than the general population to suffer from hearing loss due to their profession. On top of time spent practicing instruments, concerts regularly exceed 110 dB — loud enough to cause hearing damage in a matter of minutes. Musicians who do not wear hearing protection face the likelihood of hearing loss at an early age, and they risk their careers in the process.

Southside Hearing Center's in-ear musicians’ monitors that are custom-fit to the unique contours of your ear, so they fit comfortably for your entire performance. The snug but comfortable seal ensures that you only hear sounds through your monitors at a volume that is appropriate for you and won’t damage your hearing — and the sound quality of our products are second to none.

Contact our office to schedule your custom fitting appointment today!

Hearing Protection for Hunting

As a hunter, your ears face the risk of immediate damage from gunshots — if you fire them without proper ear protection. Southside Hearing Center offers an array of custom-fit, essential protective gear for hunters and shooters, military and police personnel, and industrial and manufacturing professionals. The hearing protection we fit you with is convenient to carry with you, and since it’s fit to the unique contours of your inner ear, it’s comfortable to wear.

We offer both standard hearing protection and electronic hearing protection for use wherever and whenever loud noise is a problem. Please call our office today or contact our office to schedule your appointment for custom-fit hearing protection!

Ear Protection for Swimmers

While there isn’t much to hear underwater, seasoned swimmers understand the importance of wearing ear protection to help prevent swimmer’s ear, surfer’s ear, and eardrum ruptures. Ear protection for swimmers help the ears equalize underwater, and are custom fit to create tight seals that keep the ear canal dry. Regular swimmers, or those who spend several hours per week performing activities in water, are encouraged to be fit for ear protection.

Our practice specializes in finding the right ear protection solutions for you. Please call us today to book your appointment for custom-fit swimming protection!

Frequently Asked Questions

Heavy-duty earmuffs can create a seal around the ear that cuts out noise to the same level as many earplugs. The main disadvantages of a larger headset are the possibility for less mobility, and the possibility that they may fall off, leaving the ears exposed for some period of time. Earplugs may also fall out, but custom-fit earplugs are likely to stay sealed comfortably in the ear for as long as you’d like to wear them.
If you must raise your voice in order to be heard over the sound, you’re probably experiencing a dangerous amount of noise. Do what you can to move out of harm’s way, or cover your ears if possible until the noise passes.
Earplugs that fit snugly and seal tightly in your ear canal typically offer protection for a variety of situations. Custom-fit hearing protection offered by Southside Hearing Center can protect your ears from harmful noise levels while still allowing you to enjoy the activities you love.
Permissible noise exposure levels vary. Hearing loss is cumulative, meaning that the less time you’re exposed to loud noises over the course of your life, the better your hearing health is likely to be. The point at which sound begins to damage hearing is 85 dB, for which the permissible continuous exposure period is about eight hours. For each 3 dB increase in noise pressure, the permissible exposure time before hearing damage can occur is cut in half. For example, permissible exposure to 88 dB would be four hours, 91 dB would be two hours, 94 dB would be one hour, etc.
Do whatever you can to get away from that noise immediately. When a noise is painful, it’s likely that damage is being done to your hearing. Noises loud enough to cause pain are also typically loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage almost immediately. If the pain persists, please see a medical professional.
Perhaps the most common loud noise you’ll encounter is freeway traffic, which can be loud enough to damage hearing (85 dB) when it’s heavy. Lawn mowers, chain saws, ambulances, garbage trucks, and motorcycles are all fairly common neighborhood or street sounds that can damage hearing. During certain times of the year, firecrackers, jackhammers, snowmobiles, or outdoor sporting equipment (guns included) might make themselves known. And of course loud music — whether it’s through earbuds and a loud iPod or in person at a concert — is one of the most common culprits of hearing loss today.
Southside Hearing Center can fit you with custom hearing protection that defends the delicate inner ear against harmful noise levels.