Wearing earplugs is not cool – this misconception has existed for a long time and is a serious problem in today’s loud world. However, something as simple as wearing earplugs can protect your hearing and prevent permanent damage from occurring. Experiencing prolonged exposure to sound that is 85 decibels or higher causes gradual hearing loss. Surprisingly, 85 decibels is the level of heavy traffic or a noisy cafeteria. Most don’t realize that we are exposed to potential damage in our every day lives. Sounds at a live concert or sporting event typically reach levels of 100 dB or higher. And even fireworks can reach levels of 140-160 dB.
Here are 5 ways to prove the misconception is false and that earplugs are cool:
1. Influential role models are speaking out.
Many of today’s musicians are wearing earplugs to protect their own hearing and are promoting the benefits of wearing them. For example, Pete Townshend, The Who’s guitarist, has hearing loss in both ears as a result of loud noise exposure. Townshend has used his experience to fund the non-profit group, H.E.A.R., which advocates for hearing loss awareness.
2. Dress your earplugs up.
Many people who use earplugs want to a discreet pair that is hard to spot. But young people are more likely to wear earplugs if they can express themselves by personalizing their earplugs.
3. Educate children on the importance of protecting their hearing.
Hearing loss is often not taken as seriously as it should be. By educating children early through school programs and pediatrician offices, the stigma surrounding earplugs will lessen.
4. Just try them!
People often think that not only will wearing earplugs be unsightly, but it will also be uncomfortable. However, you won’t know if you like earplugs until you try them. Once people try earplugs, they usually realize they are much more comfortable than they imagined and continue to use them.
5. Bring extra earplugs to share.
When you go to a place you will be wearing earplugs at, carry an extra pair or two to share with others. Peer pressure in this instance can be a positive thing! You will be helping break the stigma and helping others protect their hearing.
If you are concerned you may have hearing loss, it is important that you have your hearing checked as soon as possible. Dr. Joe Griffith, AuD,CCC-A is a certified audiologist who makes “house calls”. Call him at (504) 738-4557 or visit accessiblehearing.com to schedule your hearing test today.