All About Hearing Protection

About 15 percent of American adults are struggling with hearing loss. That means around 37.5 million people aged 18 and over report some hearing trouble. With such large numbers alone in the United States, one might wonder what can be done to prevent hearing loss.

Although most people experience hearing loss at some point in their lives, many preventive measures can be taken. One of the most important is to use hearing protection in places where you cannot escape the noise.

Understanding hearing protection

The amount of protection provided by earplugs or earmuffs is measured with the Noise Reduction Level, or NRR. The higher the number, the more protection a device offers. The real noise reduction is typically about half of the NRR number, so earplugs with a 28 NRR give around 14 dB of noise reduction. The highest-rated earplugs have a 33 NRR while the highest rated earmuffs have a 31 NRR.

Types of hearing protection

There are several different types of hearing protective devices, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

Foam Earplugs

These are cheap and light, and in emergencies, you can easily keep a pair or two in your bag to pull out. They impede sound by a few decibels and are perfect for your day-to-day work commute, or other moderately loud events. However, wearing foam earplugs incorrectly is easy, so even if you think you are protecting your hearing, you may be exposing yourself to dangerous sounds.

Silicone Earplugs

An excellent alternative to foam earplugs is the silicone earplugs. Also, they are lightweight and inexpensive, but they provide a better seal than foam earplugs as they form on your ear. However, they can be uncomfortable when worn for long periods.


Earmuffs are a perfect way to avoid loud noise. They form a tight barrier around your entire ear. If you work in a very noisy setting, or attend a rock concert or a sporting event, earmuffs will keep your hearing secure. They ‘re easier to remove and replace, and you won’t have to fiddle your ear canal with earplugs whenever you want to talk to your friend.

Custom-Fitted Hearing Protection: The Professional Choice

If you are exposed to harmful noise levels regularly, you may want to consider custom-molded earplugs. This type is precisely tailored to the form of your ear canal. The hearing specialist takes a cast from your ear canal to create a custom-molded earplug. The attached earplug is then made from silicone.

Here are some reasons why custom hearing protection may be the choice for you:

  • Best fit: Custom fitted safety ensures a perfect fit for the user, provides the recommended amount of noise reduction and is comfortable when worn.
  • Better quality: Depending on care and handling, the custom-molded earplug silicone material will last between three and five years.
  • Will fit any ear: Custom-molded earplugs can be designed to match any healthy ear, whether too big or too small for disposable earplugs, made for all ear shapes and sizes. In contrast, disposable earplugs are designed for the most common ear size and shape only.
  • Easily replaced: If the custom-molded earplug gets lost or damaged, it can be replaced without a new impression being required. All that is needed is for the hearing professional to keep the impression or mold on file. The wearer can then contact them for a replacement.
  • Customized to fit individual needs: Custom-molded earplugs can be made with filters to ensure that the quantity and form of noise reduction offered are tailored to the needs of the user. While a solid custom-molded earplug can provide about 25 to 30 dB of noise reduction, filters can be inserted through the earplug, allowing its noise reduction to be reduced to the desired level. They also come in a variety of colors and materials to further customize your hearing protection.
  • More comfortable: Since the custom-molded earplug was made from a mold of your ear, it would fit perfectly into the ear without any pressure. This is rarely the case for disposable earplugs, which apply pressure to the ear canal walls to be effective.

Hearing Protection at Mt. Hood Hearing

For the best in hearing protection, we recommend custom-fitted hearing protection for most situations. Custom in-ear monitors for music are also a great way to protect your hearing from excessive stage noise while enjoying high fidelity. Hearing is one of our most essential senses helping us to interact and connect. Do not take your hearing for granted and invest in hearing protection so that for years to come, you can make sure that you hear well. To schedule a consultation for custom-fitted hearing protection or to demo in-ear monitors, contact us today.