Occupational Hearing Protection
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends “all worker exposures to noise be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss.” NIOSH also recommends “a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.”
NIOSH recommends a hearing loss prevention program including regular hearing evaluations, the use of hearing protection, and accurate record keeping, evaluations and audits.
You can significantly reduce loud noises and prevent hearing damage by wearing properly fitted earplugs. However, hearing protectors that are not properly fit will still allow loud and damaging noises into your ear canal.
Ear Protection for Hunters and Recreational Shooters
Up to half of all recreational shooters may eventually suffer some degree of hearing loss. Typical gunfire exceeds 130 decibels (well over the 90 decibel damage point) and requires properly fit hearing protection to avoid permanent damage.
Hunting requires you to be able to hear very soft sounds, while still protecting your ears from the loudness of a shotgun blast. Luckily, there are many options for hunting ear protection. In addition to custom or premade shooters plugs and earmuffs, there are also devices that reduce the volume of gunfire while providing amplifications for quieter noises.
Electronic earplugs help prevent damage to your hearing by reducing impulse sounds (such as gunfire) down to a safe level, while enhancing the quieter sounds around you. They are available in custom molds, but there are also less expensive standard options.
Hearing Protection for Musicians
Since traditional earplugs reduce sound by muffling low-to-mid-range frequencies, they are not ideal for professional musicians. Musicians can also order custom molds that are able to protect from loud sounds without distorting everything. There are also a variety of in-ear monitors that can help musicians of any caliber.
Ear Protection for Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officers must rely on ALL their senses, and hearing should not be neglected. Whether now or in the future, there is a possibility of discharging a weapon in close proximity, and this could cause serious damage and hearing loss. Maintaining good hearing health is extremely important for these officers.