Hearing Protection to Help Prevent Hearing Loss

Just because hearing loss is irreversible, doesn’t mean it’s not preventable. Armed with the knowledge of what damages your hearing and how to protect yourself from that damage gives you a head start on preventing the irreversible damage that later leads to hearing challenges.

Second only to age deterioration, especially in adults under the age of 70, is ongoing exposure to loud noise, or noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Ongoing, repeated exposure to sound levels above 85 decibels (the sound of an idling bulldozer) for an extended period, or a single extreme noise event, like an explosion (210 dB+) can cause permanent hearing loss.

In most cases, we can’t help fix your hearing after it’s been damaged, so our team of audiologists at Allision Audiology and Hearing Aid Center would rather help you prevent the damage and ensure that you, and our friends and neighbors in Houston, enjoy a lifetime of good hearing by educating our communities about how to protect their hearing and provide everyone with hearing protection.

Custom-fit hearing protection for musicians at Allison Audiology Houston, TX
Young man wearing ear protection

How Loud Is Too Loud?

Sound is measured in decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale. With 0 being complete silence, sounds 10 times louder than total silence measure 10 dB, and sounds 100 times louder than silence are 20 dB.

Sounds below 85 dB will not damage your hearing but sounds over 85 decibels without hearing protection will determine the damage to your hearing. The length of time you’re exposed to sounds over 85dB without protection will do increasingly more damage as the sound levels increase.

At 85 dB, you can be exposed for up to 8 hours without causing damage, but damage occurs with half the exposure time with each increase of 3 dB of sound intensity, so at 88 dB, you can only be exposed for 4 hours. Continuing up the scale, you can be exposed to 91 dB for only 2 hours and 94 dB for just 1 hour.

Damage is done to your hearing in less than 90 seconds of unprotected exposure to sounds at 110 dB (playing a trombone or trumpet), your ears experience damage within 7 seconds when your ears are unprotected from intensity levels in excess of 120 dB (siren on ambulance or police car).

To understand how serious the problem of NIHL is, ongoing exposure to loud music through headphones (110 to 115 dB) for just five minutes can be dangerous. Live concerts often exceed 135 dB; lawn equipment, chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles and power tools typically range between 90 dB and 110 dB, and discharging a firearm reaches levels in excess of 145 dB, which can cause instant, permanent damage.

Benefits Of Custom Hearing Protection

Custom hearing protection provides the best solution for protecting your ears from NIHL. Custom molded hearing protection allows for a more secure fit, ensures that your hearing protection stays in place during the activity you’re involved in, and makes you more apt to want to wear it.

With Custom Hearing Protection, Each Specific Type Of Hearing Protection Device Provides Additional Benefits Specifically Related To Their Use, Like:

  • Accurate frequency response with a full range of sounds, but at a reduced volume.
  • Vents to allow sound to pass both ways to prevent reverberation inside of your ears.
  • Precision-engineered filters for specific, measurable protection and more natural sound.
  • The use of medical-grade silicone allows for extended wearing without discomfort.
  • Replaceable sound filters allow you to select the level of sound protection you need for each situation.

Since every ear and each of your ears is unique, a custom fit solution not only provides better protection, but makes them more comfortable.

Hearing protection is given a noise reduction rating, or NRR, which tells how many decibels of noise reduction the device provides. As an example, to reduce 110 dB sound exposure to under 85 dB (which allows 8 hours of safe exposure), you’ll need hearing protection with an NRR of 25 dB.

Earmold Impressions At Allison Audiology In Houston

For any customized earpiece, the process begins with an impression of your ear. After getting an impression of each ear, we select the device that best fits your needs, and then we ensure a proper fit and feel once your custom device is ready.

How Do We Make Earmold Impressions?

Your hearing provider will first inspect your ear canal to ensure it is healthy and there is no debris that will impact the integrity of the overall impression. After inspection, a cotton block (otoblock) will be placed in the canal to protect the ear canal and eardrum from the molding material from going any further down the canal than necessary.

Earmolds at Allison Audiology Houston, TX
Custom earmold impression at Allison Audiology Houston, TX

With the otoblock in place, the earmold impression material can be inserted into the canal, which flows and shapes to the unique contours of your ear.

When creating an impression for hearing protection and in-ear monitors, you’ll need to keep your jaw in an open position while the impression material is curing, achieved by placing a soft block between your teeth.

Once the earmold impression material cures, it can be removed. Your hearing care provider will ensure a successful earmold by ensuring that certain landmarks on the earmold impression are obtained, before sending it to the manufacturer to create your custom device.

Great Experience! I went in to have my in ear impressions made… and before i knew it i was out! Job well done. I highly recommend.
– Emanuel M.

Excellent service for my in ear monitor molds.
– Clay M.

Went in to get my ears molded for custom in ear monitors. Couldn’t have been a better experience. Thank you so much.
– Stephen D.

Custom Hearing Protection Options
at Allison Audiology

Hunting Ear Plugs

Hunting, shooting, and sudden noise. A filter instantaneously closes when damaging noise levels are reached. Allows essentially normal hearing at all other times.

Music Hearing Plugs

Ideal for performing musicians and concertgoers. Also great for flight attendants, bartenders, waiters, and dental professionals. Allows wearers to hear sounds and tonal quality with greater accuracy, but at reduced levels. Three filter options available: 9dB, 15dB or 25dB.

Swim Plugs

For swimming and showering – and they FLOAT! Also provide superb noise reduction.

Sleep Plugs

Offers comfortable and uninterrupted rest. Also great for shift workers with non-traditional hours.

Motorsport Plugs

Designed with a hollow canal for under helmet use to reduce wind buffeting.

Surfer Plugs

Designed to prevent surfer’s ear and swimmer’s ear caused by exposure to cold water and wind. The floatable material is molded with a sealed membrane spanning the sound bore that keeps cold water and air out of the ear canal but allows for conversation and hearing while in the ear.

Occupational Plugs

Ideal for high-noise industrial environments.

Custom Earbuds

For use with any bud/button style earphones.

Tactical-Level Ear Protection from DefendEar

  • DefendEar 1: Amplification for situational awareness, as well as noise attenuation when you pull the trigger.
  • DefendEar 2: Offers two modes, game, which is optimized for intermittent shots, and clay mode, which is optimized for continued shots.
  • DefendEar Hunter: Offers standard digital features and provides protection in windy environments.

Schedule a Custom Hearing Protection Consultation

Protecting your ears from noise-induced hearing loss or swimmer’s ear helps ensure that you can avoid the damage caused at work, during recreational activities, and other lifestyle events that lead to hearing challenges later in life. Allison Audiology and Hearing Aids Center can help keep you hearing better for as long as possible with customized hearing protection that provides the comfort and protection you need.

Submit the adjacent form to make an appointment with us at the Houston hearing center nearest you to find out how our comfortable, effective hearing protection can help safeguard your hearing while enhancing your auditory experience.

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An estimated 20% of Americans are living with hearing loss. If you want to lower your chances of developing this condition,
The Talented Hearing Care Team at Allison Audiology