Custom Hearing Protection for Musicians, Swimmers, Shooters, and More

Senior couple enjoying motorcycle ride with hearing protection

Hearing loss may be permanent and irreversible, but it is preventable. It’s difficult to protect you against the deterioration that comes from aging or genetics, but we can help when it comes to the damage you can do to your hearing due to noise exposure.

In individuals under the age of 65, noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), which involves frequent or ongoing exposure to dangerous noise levels or exposure to a single extreme noise event, like an explosion (210 dB+), is among the most common causes of permanent hearing loss.

If you are frequently exposed to loud noise at work, while you’re doing chores around the house, or when you’re enjoying leisure activities and hobbies, you should ask yourself, “Is there a place to find custom hearing protection near me?”

Audiology Associates has you covered with custom earplugs and hearing protection that reduce your risk of developing NIHL whether you’re exposed to noise at work, doing chores around the house, or while participating in hobbies and social activities.

How Loud Is Too Loud?

Noise intensity levels are measured in decibel (dB) units, where 0dB represents the lowest volume that can be heard by the human ear. The decibel level increases by a multiple of 10 with every 10 decibels (i.e., 20dB is 10 times louder than 10 dB, 30dB is 10 times louder than 20dB, and so on).

Sounds below 85 dB (normal conversation) are considered safe without hearing protection, while the amount of damage to your ears at sound intensities above 85 dB without any form of protection increases depending on the duration of exposure.

With each intensity increase of 3 dB above 85 dB, the amount of time you can be exposed to each sound level without protection is cut in half. Left unprotected, you risk damage to your ears if you are exposed to:

  • 88 dB for 4 hours
  • 91 dB for 2 hours
  • 94 dB for 1 hour
  • 110 dB for 90 seconds
  • 120 dB for 7 seconds
  • 130 dB+ for less than 1 second

Lawn equipment, chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and power tools have noise levels of between 90 dB and 105 dB, so you should protect your ears if you use them for 30 minutes up to two hours. Listening to music on headphones or earbuds at high levels (110 dB to 115 dB) for more than a few seconds is particularly dangerous. Major sporting events, live concerts, and nightclubs often reach levels of up to 135 dB and discharging a firearm can have an intensity level in excess of 145 dB.

Senior couple enjoying motorcycle ride with hearing protection

Frequently Asked Questions about Custom
Hearing Protection

Q. When is hearing protection required or when should hearing protection be worn?
A. Hearing protection should be worn whenever the activity in which you are engaged involves an intensity and duration that exceeds safe listening levels of 85 dB.
Q. What is the best type of hearing protection?
A. For a more secure fit and greater comfort as well as the capacity to change filters to accommodate noise levels during different activities, custom hearing protection provides the best solution for hearing protection.
Q. What is the best hearing protection for hunting and shooting?
A. The best hearing protection for hunting and shooting should filter firearm discharges at or in excess of 145 dB while allowing the user to retain situational awareness and hear the sounds of their environment.
Q. Should I wear hearing protection when mowing or cutting the grass?
A. Gas powered lawn mowers operate at around 90 dB, so to err on the side of caution, you should wear hearing protection if you are going to be using your lawn mower for more than two hours.
Q. What does NRR mean for hearing protection?

A. NRR stands for Noise Reduction Rating, which was devised to give purchasers and users of hearing protection a guideline on what amount of noise protection they can expect from the hearing protection products they purchase.

Each rating attenuates (filters) noise to varying degrees at different frequencies, but in general, the NRR rating is the amount of general noise reduction of the product. For example, a product with an NRR rating of 30 would reduce the amount of noise exposure to your ears by 30 dB, bringing the use of a chainsaw (105 dB to 110 dB) down to levels of safe operation for more than eight hours.

Q. What do musicians earplugs do?
A. Musicians earplugs provide filtering of loud volume music without distorting the tone of those sounds, allowing the performer protection while allowing them to maintain pitch. Some versions can also include music monitoring, which eliminates the need for on-stage monitors.
Q. Are custom earplugs covered by insurance?
A. Insurance companies see earplugs as elective, but some companies will allow you to set aside the cost of custom earplugs for occupational use in your FSA (flexible spending account).
Senior couple enjoying motorcycle ride with hearing protection

Benefits of Custom Hearing Protection

Custom molded earplugs that conform to the unique contours of your ears help provide greater assurance that your hearing protection will remain in place during whatever activity you’re engaged in, thanks to a more secure fit as well as a greater level of comfort. Each type of custom hearing protection provides additional benefits related to their specific use, including:

  • Accurate frequency response, allowing you to hear a full range of sounds but at a reduced volume.
  • Venting, which involves letting sound to pass both ways so your voice won’t reverberate inside your ears.
  • Precision-engineered filters that provide measurable protection with clearer, more natural sound.
  • Medical-grade silicone construction, allowing you to wear them for extended periods of time without irritation or discomfort.
  • Replaceable sound filters, allowing you to select the level of sound protection necessary for a variety of activities and situations.

Custom Hearing Protection at All Maryland and DC Locations

Regardless of where and how you’re exposed to loud noise, you risk damage to your hearing and permanent noise induced hearing loss when you leave your ears unprotected. Rather than abandon the lifestyle and activities you enjoy, you can take advantage of the custom hearing protection we make available at all of our hearing care centers in:

  • Annapolis, MD
  • Baltimore (Wilkens Ave.), MD
  • Baltimore (Union Memorial Hospital), MD
  • Carney, MD
  • Easton, MD
  • Ellicott City, MD
  • Fairhaven, MD
  • Glen Burnie, MD
  • Lutherville-Timonium, MD
  • Parkville, MD
  • Timonium, MD
  • NW Washington DC
  • New Mexico Ave. DC

Audiology Associates offers hearing protection types and styles to fit your unique hearing protection requirements, including:

  • Shooting and hunting hearing protection and enhancement
  • Ear protection for use with construction and industrial equipment
  • Custom protection for using lawn and garden tools, chainsaws, motorcycles, and snowmobiles
  • Molded earplugs for concerts and sporting events
  • Earbuds for musicians and for listening to music through your personal player
  • Custom molded earplugs for swimmers (not for NIHL but to prevent “swimmer’s ear”)
Senior couple enjoying motorcycle ride with hearing protection

Ask about Custom Hearing Protection from Audiology Associates

If being able to hear better for as long as possible without sacrificing the activities and independent lifestyle is important to you, then you need to take care of your ears, protecting them from noise-induced hearing loss in order to avoid ongoing hearing challenges brought on by work, recreational activities, and lifestyle choices.

Audiology Associates makes it possible to protect your hearing with custom earplugs and hearing protection for your active lifestyle. Just use the adjacent form to learn more about the solutions we have available.

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