Hammers, “busters” (jack hammers), air tools, generators and more--many individuals work around these kinds of noises daily. When I discuss noise exposure and hearing protection devices (HPD) with patients, frequently I hear “my boss didn’t make me wear them” or “no one told me I should wear protection.” As with most health issues in life, the person with the most interest in your hearing is YOU! Keep in mind that government laws (such as OSHA) on how much noise is permissible in a job do not mean that everyone will be protected. Averages are used to protect the majority of employees without shutting down industry. If the environment is loud enough where people have to raise their voices to be understood, damage to hearing can occur if hearing protection is not worn, and worn consistently. Remember that just because your co-worker is using a noisy tool and you are not, your ears are still exposed and hearing protection should also be worn, regardless if you are 18 and just starting out, or whether you are older and already feel you have some hearing loss. You want to avoid making the problem worse.
What about noise from recreational activities, such as hunting, target shooting, motorcycles, ATVs, even loud sporting events, and of course--loud music? Noise damage is cumulative over a lifetime and these noisy activities--while fun--can be harmful as well. Standard hearing protection is often not accepted for recreational use for fear too much noise will be blocked for enjoyment, however specialty hearing protection is available for many of these activities.
All of the following, with the exception of non-custom musicians’ plugs, require ear impressions. A hearing test is required prior to taking ear impressions.