The degree of hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds is painless, progressive and permanent. With the correct hearing protection, you can limit your exposure to loud sound levels preventing further damage.
Once sounds exceed 85 dB, hearing damage can occur. If you deal with noise levels above this threshold, it is highly recommended you protect your ears.
The following symptoms after exposure to loud sounds can include:
- Voices suddenly sound muffled and your ears feel stuffy
- Ringing or buzzing in one or both ears
- Your ears hurt
- You suddenly become sensitive to noise
If your symptoms last longer than a day, consult your audiologist.
Permissible Exposure Chart:
Hearing damage occurs as a function of loudness and exposure time. The following chart shows the recommended permissible exposure time for continuous noise without using ear protection.
Permissible Exposure Time
*Information from www.dangerousdecibels.org
Ear Protection Options
Over-the-Counter: Over the counter protection are typically disposable earplugs. These are great at reducing higher pitched sounds and reduce sound to a certain extent. When worn correctly they fit into the outer ear and seal off the ear canal.
Custom-Molded Earplugs: Custom earplugs are created by developing a mold of your ear, and the earplug is designed to fit snugly to reduce the sound equally across high and low spectrums of sound. These earplugs are ideal for musicians and concertgoers.
Earmuffs: Unlike earplugs that are designed to fit inside your ear, earmuffs are designed to form a seal around your outer ear. Earmuffs reduce the sound around you and are good for those that are around loud noises often. You may find earmuffs to be be bulky and heavy.