Protect Your Ears from Loud Sounds and Water

Q. How can I protect my ears from loud sounds and water this summer and year round?

A. Exposure to loud sounds whether from music, machinery, power tools, or guns can cause permanent hearing loss and in most cases is preventable. Noise induced hearing loss is not only a problem for adults; approximately 12% of all children ages 6-19 have noise induced hearing loss. But, what is too loud? Any prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can cause damage.

  • Lawnmowers are at least 90 dB, and hearing is damaged after 2 hours of continuous use.
  • MP3 players at full volume or practicing in a school band room are 100 dB, and hearing is injured after just 15 minutes of exposure.
  • Concerts and racing events are 110 dB and hearing is damaged after just 2 minutes of exposure.
  • Gun shots or fireworks are 140 dB, and hearing is instantly injured.

Thankfully, there are many options to help protect your hearing. Plus there are many color options available to express your personality or match your school colors; even clear for the discreet individual. 

General Noise Protection - There are many options available for work or recreation for which custom earplugs are made to provide noise reduction. However, if communication and noise protection are both equally important, there are options that allow for both. 

Music Plugs - Loud music is becoming a leading problem with hearing loss in younger adults and teens. Concerts as well as garage and school bands can be very loud and damaging to your hearing. Musician plugs reduce the volume of the music without distorting it to ensure a pleasant listening experience. 

Hunters or Sport Shooting -There are several options depending on your needs. There are plugs that will allow for communication but have a filter that activates when a shot is fired to provide you with the proper amount of noise protection. For hunters that need some mild sound enhancement, there is an option that will provide a mild gain of 30 decibels along with fast acting hearing protection. 

Flying - There are custom plugs that will help reduce engine noise while also helping with the pressure changes that occur with ascent and descent. The filter that is incorporated into the plug still allows for communication and hearing in-flight announcements.  

Swim plugs - For those with ear tubes or ears that are sensitive to water, swim plugs will keep the water out. They protect the ear from potential problems with infection when lake, pool, ocean, well water, or river water gets into the ear canal or tube. These plugs also float so that if they do happen to come out, they are easier to find.  

These are your modern options for ear protection. Call the Audiology Department at Columbus Regional Hospital to schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists to find the ear protection that meets your lifestyle and budget needs. 

Columbus Regional Health 
Audiology Department 
812-376-5373 (option 2)
800-841-4938, ext. 5373 (option 2)

Naine Fiscus Sol, AuD, CCC-A
Danielle Hewitt, M.A., CCC-A

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