Hearing Protection

Noise-induced hearing loss is something your body can’t recover. That’s why it so important to wear proper hearing protection when you are exposed to excessive noise.

TheHearing&Balance Lab - Doctors & Support Staff

Wear Earplugs at Seahawks Games!

Seahawks Earplugs

Do you or someone close to you attend Seahawks games at Century Link Field?  While the 12th Man is famous for making it impossible for the opposing team to hear, we should all make sure we don’t blow out our own hearing at the games!

Seahawks crowd noise regularly reaches over 100 decibels inside Century Link Field—the record was 112 decibels, which is basically the same as sitting five feet away from a chain saw.

If you are a current patient of ours, we would be happy to mail you two pair of Seahawks logo earplugs free of charge.

Just click here to fill out a quick request form.

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We recommend wearing earplugs when you know you will be exposed to persistent noises over 85 decibels, including:

  • When you’re using a gas-powered lawn mower or leaf blower
  • At rock concerts
  • When using power tools and loud vacuums
  • Firing a rifle
  • Riding a motorcycle or snowmobile
  • When you’re in construction and manufacturing environments
  • If you play in an orchestra or band

Should I be worried about noise levels at my work?

  • If any of the following apply, you should really be wearing hearing protection at work:
  • Work noise is intrusive—like a busy street or a vacuum cleaner—for most of the day
  • You have to raise your voice to have a conversation when a few feet apart from your workmates
  • You use noisy power tools or machinery for over half an hour a day
  • You work in construction, demolition, woodworking, manufacturing, recycling, etc.
  • Your work area has noises because of impacts (such as hammering, or stamping)
  • You use compressed air-powered tools

A sign that you should be wearing protective hearing is if you have muffled hearing after leaving work, even if it gets better a little later. If you have any ear or hearing trouble, let your employer know.

Hearing Protection

There is a wide variety of hearing protection devices available. Different devices are designed to protect against different severities of noise. All devices sold in the U.S. come with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), which is the amount of decibels (dB) that the device removes under laboratory conditions. However, OSHA recommends that you assume that the actual amount of decibels reduced is only about 50% of the NRR. So, you can count on foam earplugs with an NRR of 33 to reduce noise by about 16 dB. That’s just enough to get you into the safe range at Seahawks game. If you are exposed to regular loud noise at work, your employer should be informing you of what types of hearing devices you should wear, based on the intensity of the noise and the duration of the exposure.

The website for Cooper Safety Equipment has a very easy to understand description of NRR scores and the different type of hearing aids available. You can read more about it here.

The major hearing protection manufacturers’ websites also have useful information. In particular, we recommend visiting the following sites:

Moldex.com
3m.com
HowardLeight.com

If you have further questions, feel free to call us at (425) 225-2626, or ask your doctor at your next visit to the Hearing and Balance Lab.