Certain professions and persons especially need to wear hearing protection:
- Construction workers
- Anyone using power tools
- People using firearms (hunters, policemen, etc.)
- Motorcycle riders
- Musicians/music industry professionals
Hearing protection helps protect the ears in noisy environments. Exposure to loud noise can destroy the nerve endings in the inner ear, which send sound vibrations to the brain for interpretation. As more and more nerve endings are damaged, the greater hearing loss becomes. Damage to these nerve endings is permanent. Exposure to loud noise can also cause tinnitus (ringing in the ear).
Hearing protection comes in two forms: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs fit into the ear canal, completely blocking the canal. The plugs are typically small enough to wear helmets or headbands overtop. Some can be made so they only close up when a certain decibel level is reached, which allows the user to hear at all other times. Earmuffs fit around the entire outer ear and are worn with an adjustable headband. It is important to wear both earplugs and earmuffs tightly and firmly to reduce maximum exposure to the ear.