July 5, 2011

Don’t Get Hearing Loss… Get Protection!

Parker,-Molly-NEWBy Dr. Molly Parker
Parker Audiology, PC

Happy July 4th to everyone! Summertime is for outside activities, which often include loud activities such as airshows, fireworks, power tools, outdoor bands, etc. Let’s avoid noise and reduce hearing loss (for adults and kids). Turn your volume dial to the left for TV, radio and iPod use. If you already have hearing loss, consider help for your hearing so you do not risk others’ hearing for your louder TV volume. Finally, it is never too late to protect your hearing. Different types of hearing protection can be obtained at fairly minimal cost, $12-$175, and should be considered, too!

Musician’s Earplugs

Recently, I was introduced to the effectiveness of the non-custom fit musicians’ earplugs, called EtyPlugs™ made by Etymotic Research. These plugs are easy to order, easy to insert and effective at providing a flat response to sound. They are very economical, long lasting and helpful at preventing hearing loss by allowing good sound quality through for music. Reusable, they are perfect for rock bands, orchestras, concert band and marching band students and directors, auto mechanics, and anyone who needs to hear accurately, etc. If you are a serious musician, you can also obtain custom musician’s plugs that are molded to your ears and allow for different levels of sound filtering to keep you safe, but able to hear what you need to hear!

Motorcyle plugs

Yes, there are special plugs for motorcycle users which fit snugly and comfortably under helmets. Incidently, these also work great to protect your hearing from your spouse’s loud snoring since they are so comfortable.

Swim plugs

Custom swimplugs can be bright and fun, and provide protection against water and sound. These are great for general sound protection as well.

Communication earmolds

Custom plugs can be made to make your iPod or cell phone hands free ear plugs easier to hear. Because outside sound is blocked, your ears are protected from the noise. These are known as sound isolating earphones. Furthermore the sound from your conversation goes directly into your ear with minimal interruption, allowing you to decrease the volume from the cell phone or music player.

Help spread the news about how easy and important it is to protect your hearing! Research conducted with drum and bugle corps (marching bands) revealed that while almost 97 percent had worn hearing protection before, only 28 percent had ever tried EtyPlugs which are preferable to foam earplugs because they don’t cut out high frequencies which causes that muffled feeling. You can help by letting friends and family know about the different types of hearing protection available and how important it is to visit the audiologist to get a baseline hearing evaluation and to obtain more information on the best earplugs for their individual needs!