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When Should You Wear Ear Protection?

a pair of orange ear plugs

The purpose of ear protection is to stop your ears from meeting sounds that can cause damage. This begs the question; should you wear ear protection all the time? While doing this will protect your ears, it is unnecessary. Ear protection should only be worn when you’re at risk of being exposed to sounds that are greater than 85 decibels. 

Why 85 dB? Hearing health professionals agree that this is the limit that our ears can tolerate. Anything above this, for a long period, can damage to our ears. So, ear protection needs to be worn in situations where sounds are greater than 85-dB. As a result, the devices will lower the volume that you can hear, protecting your ears. 

Ear protection only needs to be worn when you’re in contact with loud noises or sounds. Here are a few examples of when this will be necessary: 

At concerts or when playing music

If you go to a live concert, then the music will be around 110-120 dB. Now, this is already too loud, but factor in how long you’ll be there for. A concert can last a couple of hours or more, meaning your ears will be exposed for too long. The same goes for anyone who plays in a live band or performs – you need to wear ear protection to lower the noise levels and protect your hearing health. 

When doing some gardening

Some gardening tools or devices are loud enough to bypass the 85-dB threshold. Lawnmowers and other powered gardening tools will usually be around 90 dB or more. So, you should wear some ear protection on while you work outside in the garden!

At work

You may need to wear ear protection to work, depending on your job. If you work in construction, then you will need ear protection almost all the time. This helps block out the noise from jackhammers, machinery and other noisy items. If you work in a factory, then you should need ear protection too, mainly to protect against the sound of all the loud equipment. 

If you’re using power tools

Those of you that are keen to partake in some DIY around the house may need to wear ear protection. Mainly, put some on if you’re using power tools – like electric drills, saws and sanders. These tools are usually always above 85 dB, so it makes sense to give your ears some added protection. 

If you live near particularly noisy areas

Some of you may be unlucky enough to live next to very noisy areas. Typically, this includes homes that are close to busy roads or ones that are near construction sites. In either case, wearing ear protection can stop your ears from being damaged by any of the loud sounds around – such as traffic, car horns and construction site noises. 

In conclusion, the short answer is that you should wear ear protection when there are sounds that go above 85-dB. Just make sure you wear appropriate ear protection for whatever it is you’re doing. If you need any help figuring out what ear protection to buy, then you should contact a hearing health professional for added guidance.