How Ear Protection Preserves Hearing
If you ask your audiologist, they will tell you that prevention is the best practice against hearing loss. While there are many treatments available for hearing loss, there is no solution that will restore functionality once it’s been damaged.
Thankfully, there several ways to protect your hearing and your audiologist is likely to recommend ear protection as one of the most reliable methods available.
The danger of hearing loss
There are natural risk factors that contribute to hearing loss, such as age, as well as temporary causes, like earwax buildup and infection. However, noise is one of the leading causes of permanent hearing loss, especially in younger individuals. Loud noises kill the nerve endings in the inner ear. The longer the exposure and the louder the noise, the more nerve endings at risk. The fewer nerve endings you have in your ear, the less your ears are able to translate the sound waves and transmit them to the brain. As hinted, there is no way to regenerate dead nerve endings inside the ear.
They dampen loud noises
The primary function that ear protection (such as earmuffs and both temporary and customized earplugs) provides is the dampening of loud noise. Earplugs fit inside the canal snugly, while earmuffs are worn over the ears. Both products are designed to reduce your exposure to damaging noise. There are also tactical listening devices that allow you to still hear certain sound, while preventing any damaging noise from penetrating your ears. These are particularly helpful if, for instance, you are attending rock concerts or you work in an environment with power tools, but still want to be able to communicate effectively with your coworkers.
They protect your ears from the environment
While the elements aren’t typically as dangerous as noise is when it comes to your auditory system, they still bring some risks with them. The cold air, snow and wind can irritate the interior of the ears and expose them to more dirt and debris, causing more earwax production, which can lead to a buildup. This buildup can lead to painful and annoying impactions. Similarly, moisture and water in the ear can lead to infections. While these infections can be treated easily, they can lead to complications like temporary or permanent hearing loss. Earplugs are an effective solution for not only keeping noise out, but also for protecting your ears from potentially harmful elements.
If you regularly take part in activities that produce a lot of noise or work in an environment that is excessively loud, you need ear protection. The same goes if you regularly exposed to elements that can irritate and harm your ears. Talk to your audiologist about the best form of protection to prevent hearing loss.