When should you wear hearing protection? That’s a good question because hearing issues can cause a host of other problems that protection can help prevent. And, according to Dr. Deborah Grall, a Marshfield Clinic Health System audiologist, one time without proper protection may be all it takes to do significant damage to your hearing.
“Once the damage is done, it’s done,” Grall said. “We can’t really fix it and it can lead to permanent hearing loss.”
For activities like going to a shooting range, monster truck shows and concerts, you will want to wear hearing protection at all times.
“There is no such thing as a safe sounding gun shot,” Grall said. “One time and it can damage your hearing,”
Activities like mowing lawn, blow drying your hair and vacuuming are safe as long as you don’t do them for a sustained and repeated amount of time.
Ear muffs over ear buds or plugs
Ear muffs are preferred ear protection because there is less chance of user error and they have a consistent and reliable fit, said Grall. ”Ear plugs are hard to insert properly,” she said.
Hearing safety isn’t only about hearing protection
Some rules of thumb also apply when listening to music, like keeping the volume below 75 decibels on your computer.
“One such rule is if you have to raise your voice when you are listening to music with ear buds in the car and others in the car can hear the music,” Grall said, “that means your volume is probably too high and you probably can damage your hearing.”
Some warning signs for hearing damage include hearing a ringing sound, feeling that your ears are plugged or that sounds seem distorted.
Talk to your primary care provider if you have concerns about your hearing. Make an appointment.