Beginner’s Guide to Electronic Hearing Protection Including Earplugs and Earmuffs

Twenty-six million Americans — consisting of women, men and kids — suffer from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), according to the U.S. (NIH). Noise-induced hearing loss is a permanent or temporary reduction in hearing ability brought on by contact with a dangerous sound level (over 85 decibels (dB)). The kinds of noises that can cause NIHL cover anything from day to day city traffic at approximately 85 dB to guns, fireworks and motorcycles which may top 120 decibels. Fortunately that your local hardware and sporting goods shops most likely have a number of hearing protection products in stock to help protect your hearing in a large range of circumstances.

A hearing protection scale.

The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the United States standard rating system for the level of protection provided by a particular device.The rating range from 0 to 33 dB with the larger rating providing greater ear protection.

Choosing Earplugs or Earmuffs

Electronic earplugs

Electronic earplugs are compact devices placed inside the ear to filter extremes in outside noise, while still enabling you to hear lower-level sounds close to you. Additionally, they react and adapt to muffle sudden noises, such as a shot from a gun or a cymbal. Some types of electronic earplugs can allow lower-decibel sounds like speech to reach the wearer while also blocking dangerous loud noises. These are especially useful for hunting and at industrial or construction sites where loud noises are frequent, but you still need to be able to hear directions.

Electronic earmuffs

Electronic earmuffs cover the entire outer ear with a cushioned insulating material and, while most versions are similar in appearance to non-electronic earmuffs, they are very different. Some earmuffs are manufactured specifically for people who encounter gunshots on a regular basis, such as soldiers, hunters or police. Other earmuffs include a built-in 2-way radio system that allows wearers to communicate with one another in noisy working environments. Other earmuffs include AM/FM radio reception, to provide entertainment when you’re doing noisy work around the yard.

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