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Protect Your Hearing

Exposure to noise can damage hearing by damaging the hair cells in the cochlea of the ear. But it’s not only long term exposure that’s a problem. Even one-shot events, literally, can be harmful.

The ear has some defense mechanisms to reduce the level of noise presented to its hair cells, but it doesn’t react instantaneously. That’s why loud impulsive sounds or transients (explosions, gunshots) can cause so much trouble.

Also the use of alcohol and drugs (recreational or prescription) can reduce or impair the reaction time of the ear’s defense mechanisms. Some categories of prescription drugs themselves have been found to damage hearing. According to Safetyline, these include antibiotics such as streptomycin, quinine, and salicylates such as aspirin. Workplace toxins can have the same detrimental effect by themselves or in conjunction with exposure to loud noise.

So be careful, not only in the workplace, but also when going to clubs, concerts, parties, or convention receptions and enjoying your favorite adult beverage at the same time.

Wear ear protection. Expandable foam ear plugs placed in ear canal reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. Depending on the brand, ear plugs may reduce some frequencies better than others.

Etymotic is a company that produces high fidelity ear plugs that reduce sound at all frequencies by 20 dB. They also make custom molded musician’s earplugs with the same response.

For some high-noise environments or long-term exposure situations, earmuff hearing protectors may be needed, either used by themselves or in combination with earplugs.

For more information, visit
Safetyline or Etymotic.