Choosing the Right Headphones for Noisy Work Environments

Once hearing is lost, it can never be restored. No matter what age you are, hearing loss has the potential to profoundly affect every area of your life. Most people associate losing their hearing with growing older. While this can and does occur, a 60-year old can easily have better hearing than a 25-year old.

You may wonder how this is possible. Many teens and those in their early twenties feel their physical attributes are endless and invincible. Thanks to ear buds and a penchant for loud music nearly one out of five teens has some hearing loss. Damage to your ears can occur with exposure to one loud event, although it commonly is a cumulative effect. Meaning months or years of exposure to loud noise builds up, gradually leading to hearing problems. If you’re going to be listening to music on the job – and for safety’s sake, even if you’re not –┬áconsider your options and go for closed-back headphones to reduce your risk of hearing loss.

Minimize Noise Exposure

Many people assume there is little they can do to avoid the cumulative effects a noisy environment has on the ears. Far more damaging than ear buds and loud music, industrial-related noise is the leading cause of hearing loss and impairment. Your job may damage your ears in ways that will not necessarily show itself immediately. Often, decades go by before the true extent of job-related hearing loss is noticed and measured.

Ear buds, open-backed headphones and other popular ear devices are discreet and appropriate for some situations. However, when you work around machinery, outdoor tools like jackhammers and leaf blowers, construction equipment and other tools that make varying degrees of noise, there is only one headphone that works to help you keep your hearing in good shape. Closed-back headphones are your best option to decrease to noise that causes hearing loss.

Sounds Known to Damage Ears as Opposed to Normal Sounds.

When your ears get exposed to over 85 decibels, you run the risk of damaging the fine hairs within your ear that regulate hearing. Wearing closed-back headphone when operating a chainsaw greatly lessens you risk of harming your ears. If you choose not to wear headphones while using a chainsaw, expect to experience hearing loss after about 15 minutes. Here is a list of noise-makers that lurk in the background, hoping to catch your ears without protection.

  • Tractors are least offensive as they emit just slightly over the 85-decibel cutoff.
  • Next, running a table saw or operating a combine both hit about 90 decibels.
  • A hand drill produces about 95 decibels of noise.
  • Working around a circular saw really starts to see loud sounds accruing over 105 decibels.
  • Rock bands average nearly 125 decibels and chain saws are just over that amount.
  • Gun fire registers at 150 decibels or above and can instantly cause noticeable, severe hearing loss in one or both ears. Firecrackers and explosions fall within the same range.

A refrigerator humming might produce 45 sound decibels and a normal conversation registers about 60 decibels. Heavy city noise runs around 85 decibels. Remember, 85 decibels begin the point hearing loss begins. Motorcycles emit 95 decibels, running your MP3 player at maximum sound throws 105 decibels directly into your ears. Sirens run at a decibel level of 120.

Time and Distance Matter with Noise Exposure

The length of time your exposure occurs as well as how close you are to the offending sound plays big factors in the extent of your hearing loss. Wearing closed-back headphones in situations where you know the decibel level will exceed 85 is your best, and often only, defense.

Unfortunately, unexpected loud bursts of noise cannot always be anticipated and thus, avoided. If you do to the gun range closed-back headphones are standard equipment. However, you may be within a few feet of someone deciding it would be clever to set a firecracker off right near you. When you are not at work or being in a social setting, naturally you are not prepared for exposure to loud noise.

The best you can do to protect your hearing is wearing closed-back headphones at work, while performing hobbies, doing landscaping or renovating your home.