Hearing is among your 5 senses and should be protected as such. Using the utmost protection when participating in noisy activity for work or leisure is imperative to preventing hear loss. And you may need to use hearing protection more than you may realize.
Human hearing is much more sensitive than many people realize. Your ears are fascinating instruments which are actually capable of detecting pressure variations of less than one billionth of atmospheric pressure. The hearing drum inside your ear detects air vibrations on the microscopic level as tiny as a tenth of an atomic diameter.
Unfortunately, with your ears’ ultra-sensitivity to sound and pressure (essentially one in the same) also comes high susceptibility to damage. Even with exposure to loud noise for a negligible period of time, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) could result. Your ears are incredible instruments of detection and very worth protecting, especially important for those high at risk for hearing loss.
- Firearms users and hunters
- Small plane pilots
- Heavy Machine Operators (Mowers, jackhammers, etc.)
- Light Commercial Operators (Hedge trimmers, chainsaws, etc.)
- Steel workers
- Factory workers
Taking the proper precautions and protecting your hearing with earplugs is crucial to protecting your hearing. Even ancient people knew this, with the first known reference in such literature as The Odyssey. Homer wrote of sailors using wax earplugs, allowing them to avoid the calls of the Siren song. The Siren being a myth, it is widely unknown in what capacity exactly ear plugs were actually used as far back as 700BC.
It is however known the introduction of conventional earplugs wasn’t until 1907. At the turn of the 20th century, the Germans were producing wax earplugs. First produced by Ohropax, the company was the first to make ear plugs commercially available- which still manufacture the ‘original’ wax earplugs to this day. Luckily, however, there have been monumental improvements in hearing protection technology over the past 100 years.
Sometimes the danger is what you can hear, but what you can’t hear. If you’re wearing conventional ear plugs on a hazardous construction site, you will be unable to the cries of ‘heads up!’ and ‘watch yourself!’ as one of your fellow site workers drops their tool box or a crate of rivets from high above. For hunters, as well, not being fully aware of your surroundings, being able to hear the tiniest leaf rustle 125 yards to your west could cost you a shot and a missed opportunity. Luckily, ear protection technology now available allows you full hearing perception as it blocks out harmful sounds.
Ear plug protection technology available today can not only protect your hearing, but actually enhance it as well. In this regard it doesn’t detract from your ability to focus more on the shot in front of you. With numerous settings allowing you to select the degree you want to pick up on background noise versus drown out loud, foreground noise, the most advanced hearing protection actually employs a omnidirectional microphone. This microphone allows you to pick up, auto-calibrate, and place noises all around you.
You only have one pair of ears; protecting them as thoroughly with the resources modern day society affords us should motivate every at-risk demographic. Implementing the right hearing protection technology could protect not only your hearing, but your productivity and safety as well.