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Hearing Loss is on the Rise Among Young People
Recently on JacksonSun.com, Beth Knoll wrote an article talking about something going on that most people don’t realize: young people are having hearing problems and hearing loss.

It used to be that older people, over 65, were the ones known to be hard-of-hearing and needing hearing aids to hear their caregivers and grandchildren’s words. Nowadays, in a society where young people go to deafening music concerts and stand close to the speakers, as well as wear ear buds playing music at loud levels for extended periods of time, it’s no wonder that more and more audiologists are seeing younger patients.

Knoll quotes an audiologist who says, “Hearing loss occurs when loud noise damages the ear’s hair cells, which transmit neural impulses to the brain. After noise damages a hair cell, it no longer transmits neural impulses. Over time, the brain is not receiving the amount of impulses it needs to properly understand sounds such as speech, resulting in the need for hearing aids.”

Besides loud music, the article also mentions hunters not wearing protective hearing gear as another group of people audiologists deal with on a regular basis. While many shooters think nothing of it, just one gunshot, without hearing protection, can cause permanent hearing damage.

While today’s hearing aids aren’t as bulky as ones in the 1980s and 1990s, it’s recommended that people take precaution with their ears by wearing hearing protection, such as earplugs, when they’ll be around loud noises such as music and gunshots.

Electronic Shooters Protection sells state-of-the-art electronic hearing protection devices. The custom-fitted pieces have a precise fit, letting in normal, natural sounds, while blocking the crazy loud noises from hurting a person’s ears.

What Common Noises Cause Hearing Loss?
Have you ever talked to someone who’s spent some time in a sensory deprivation chamber? In some cases, they’ve been known to trigger severe anxiety and depression, among other problems, within minutes. As a human being, our senses are really all that we have when it comes to experiencing the world around us. Seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching are the gateways to our environment. So naturally, we don’t want to lose them.

 

We tend to overlook the worry of damaging our senses, however, especially early in life. Some people smoke, damaging their ability to taste and smell. Others look carelessly at the sun, causing damage to precious eyesight.

  But the sense that is perhaps most overlooked is that of hearing. Once the damage is done, it won’t come back, so the best way to preserve your ears is to be mindful of what you’re exposing them to. And even noises that might not seem so bad can be very harmful over time. Here are a few of the most common culprits to watch out for.

  Music How can it be? Sweet, sweet music? The louder you listen to music, the more damage you’re likely causing. Ever leave a rock concert with your ears ringing? Unfortunately, that’s a sign of damage. Those fans in the crowd wearing earplugs are one step ahead of everyone else. An MP3 player at full volume is shooting 105 decibels directly into your ears—well over the standard safety threshold of 75.

  Sirens How ironic is it that vehicles used solely to help others can cause hearing loss to those around them? Of course, loud sirens are necessary to announce the approach of an emergency vehicle.  There is a 120-200db rating at 100 feet from the sirens. Ultimately, it’s a case of the lesser of two evils. Besides, you’re really only at risk when the sirens are blaring nearby, so roll the car windows up or cover your ears when that happens.

  Engines Most types of engines, from a chainsaw to a motorcycle to a lawnmower, are louder than the safe 75-decibel limit. In fact, even keeping your window open on the highway can damage hearing over time. Ever hear of “trucker’s ear”? That’s when a truck driver loses hearing in their left ear from being on the road so much with their window down.

  Explosions This is the big one, and perhaps the most obvious. The noise emitted from an ignited firecracker or a discharged gun tops the list at 150 decibels—twice the safe limit. Because these “bangs” are relatively short, they are often overlooked and inadequately protected against.

  In each case, the best thing you can do is to invest in top quality ear protection that will minimize damage. In the case of loud gunshots, ESP analog and digital hearing protection is the unmatched choice for the serious shooter.

 

Why Digital Hearing Protection is Advantageous
Hunters, as well as gun range, backyard and target shooters can suffer serious and permanent damage to their inner ear drums when exposed to gunshots without wearing ear protection. Nevertheless, individuals will often neglect to use this protection, either because they are unaware of how significant the damage can be, or when their options consist of either awkward-fitting foam ear plugs, or bulky headphones that eliminate the natural sounds hunters rely on and prevent them from conversing with others.

Luckily, digital hearing protection, like ours at ESP, provides a solution. Our ear protection is neither cumbersome nor one-size-fits-all. Each pair is custom sized to your ears, providing a comfortable fit. They are also lightweight and easy to insert, and allow you to keep your focus on the target and your surroundings, rather than constantly readjusting your ear protection.

Electronic hearing protection will also permit lower decibel noise levels, like those from a conversation or the sounds around you in your environment, while still protecting from the louder sounds over 90dB. This extends the use of ESP’s hearing protection technology to many other fields.

Beyond all that, our product is incredibly durable. It will withstand countless hunting trips and visits to the gun range. With the benefit of protecting your eardrums from all types of noises, ESP’s digital hearing protection is a valuable investment for all gun owners.

For more information regarding our digital hearing protection for shooters, please feel free to contact us today.

Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss
No one wants hearing loss. Imagine getting older and not being able to hear the birds chirping, the waves crashing against the shore, or grandkids laughing.

Hearing loss is caused by your ears being exposed to extremely loud noises over time. If you spent most of your days on a shooting range, airport runway, or working in a loud factory, and you didn’t have hearing protection, you would most likely be deaf because your ears couldn’t stand the intense noise.

Today, there are smart phone apps that measure “decibel levels” so you can figure out if where you are is too loud for your ears. Noise over 85 decibels can cause hearing damage, and once the levels get over 100, that’s especially a danger zone for your ears.

Perhaps the smartest thing to do when you know you’ll be around loud noises for an extended period of time is to buy and wear hearing protection devices, such as ear plugs. Companies like Electronic Shooters Protection custom make hearing protection devices. Advanced digital hearing protection in-ear devices are also available, allowing the extremely loud noises to be blocked while ensuring casual conversation can clearly be heard.

Here’s some practical advice: if you’re at a rock concert and you’re close to the speakers and you know it’s too loud for your own good, move! Maybe that means going “in the back” of the venue, or into the foyer, or even outside the building—you’ll still be able to hear the music, but it won’t be deafening.

If you wear earphones to listen to music and people around you can hear the music playing, it’s too loud.

You only get one pair of ears in life. It’s best to protect your hearing now so you don’t end up asking, “What did you say? Huh?” all the time later.

 

What Can You Do If You Have Tinnitus?
If you ask around, chances are you’ll discover a friend or relative has chronic tinnitus, which is a persistent “ringing in the ears” or “sound in the head” with no external source. Those with tinnitus may experience any number of auditory sounds, like whistling, buzzing, chirping, hissing, or humming. The sounds may come and go or worse—they may be constantly there. It’s no fun having tinnitus.

Did you know about 60 million Americans have tinnitus? It’s especially prevalent in older people, past the age of 55. Most assume it means they’re “going deaf,” but that is generally not the case.

So how do you deal with tinnitus? You could try various drugs, supplements or herbs like ginkgo biloba, or even acupuncture, but chances are they won’t help. For tinnitus, it may be better to get professional therapy that involves helping a person build their coping skills so the sound(s) in their head become less bothersome over time. If you suffer with tinnitus, ask a doctor about “cognitive behavioral therapy” or “tinnitus retraining therapy.” Some people have had success with masking devices, which use low-level white noise to essentially cancel out the tinnitus sound(s). Even something as simple as listening to music on the radio can alleviate the annoyance of tinnitus—getting a person’s brain to concentrate on music sounds instead of the persistent tinnitus “ringing in the ears.”

Tinnitus typically comes from your ears being exposed to really, really loud noises. If you shoot guns, for instance, you should always be wearing hearing protection, such as custom-made ear plugs from Electronic Shooters Protection, in order to protect yourself from hearing loss and the thing no one wants: tinnitus.

What is a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?
A Noise Reduction Rating or NRR is a system used to measure the amount a hearing protection device is capable of reducing sound exposure in decibels. The higher the NRR of a hearing protector, the more effective it will be at reducing noise.

The amount of exposure to sound when wearing a hearing protection device is based on the NRR of the device. As mentioned before, the NRR is measured in decibels. It’s important to know that the amount of decibels being reduced are not equivalent to a device’s NRR though. In order to figure out how many decibels of exposure are actually being reduced, you must subtract 7 from the NRR and then divide by 2. So if a hearing protector has a rating of 33 NRR, you would do (33 – 7) / 2. This comes out to be 13. So in actuality, only 13 decibels are being reduced. If you are being exposed to 100 dB with the naked ear, putting the protectors on would reduce it to about 87 dB in this case.

  In order to receive the maximum NRR rating from a device, it must be worn properly. Certain employees are required to wear hearing protectors. If you are exposed to 85 or more decibels of sound for over an eight hour period, which is the case on certain jobs, then you must wear hearing protectors. This amount of sound is considered excessive noise. All protectors being worn must also meet the ANSI S3.19-1974 testing of NRR ratings.

Of course, anytime you go hunting, to the shooting range or even if you are goofing around shooting soda cans out back; it’s essential to protect your ears from gunshot noise.  Exposing your ears to even one gunshot could cause serious damage, making it vital you never shoot without protection.

  Regardless of whether you need hearing protection for your job, or simply for the times you go hunting or shooting, consider upgrading your protection by investing in hearing protection from ESP. Our products utilize “smart technology,” which allows you to hear the things you need to hear (such as a conversation), but still protects your ears from the blast of a gunshot or the loud sounds of a factory machine.

  For more information, please browse our site, our contact us today with any questions you may have.

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