What is the Effect of Double Hearing Protection?

Have you ever been enjoying the time with your family and suddenly felt the urge to get away and enjoy silence for a moment or two? I know I did. Especially, when the little cousins are around and cause too much noise with their toys and yelling.

And, if they can cause a headache in just half an hour, imagine what an industrial machine can do to your ears and health.

Human hearing is sensitive and, if it’s not treated well, it can cause a lot of pain and problems.

When I was a student working on a part-time job where there were a lot of machines, compressors, etc. the noise was inevitable and every time I went home, I was feeling stressed and nervous, but when I looked back on my day, I had no obvious reasons to be like that.

So, I did a little research, and I somehow found out that exposure to the noise can be very harmful to hearing and health in general.

Where there are a lot of people – there is a lot of noise. Unfortunately, people often don’t know or are not aware of how much noise they cause with just a normal conversation. But we can’t make them quiet, am I right? So, let’s focus on what we can do, and that is protecting ourselves. 

double hearing protection

What is double hearing protection?

Double hearing protection is, basically, wearing two types of hearing protection at the same time. It consists of Ear Muffs and Earplugs.

When you wear double hearing protection you want to isolate almost every sound around you, which can be a little odd and unnatural.

People often use double hearing protection just because they want to avoid noise on places they want or have to be, and those places are:

  • Workplace;
  • Concerts;
  • Public places;
  • Traffic;
  • Sports events;
  • etc.

This form of hearing protection is used only during loud noises and it is not very practical when you use it in situations below the noise levels of 105 dB. So, you should use this form just as your last resource.

How do I know when should I protect my hearing?

I will give you some orientation about how many common situations in life can be noisy and potentially damaging.

decibel scale and noise level chart

For example:

Conducting a normal conversation produces a noise level of approximately 60 dB which is basically not harmful.

A car radio at full volume is sometimes at 100 dB, which can sometimes be quite unpleasant and even damaging to a human hearing.

When noise passes the border of 100 dB, you need to put double hearing protection, so you can keep functioning normally.

The pain threshold is above 120 dB for most of adults.

See this colorful interactive infographic for more example of decibel levels.

Furthermore, the risk of noxious hearing loss starts with the noise at 80 dB. Above this value, you must wear basic hearing protection.

For example, when you are at work, at 83 dB you may only work for 4 hours without hearing protection on, and there is no high risk of hearing damage. In the remaining 4 hours, a high noise level may no longer occur, due to your accommodation.

But the differences are very thin. For example, if you are exposed to 100 dB for 5 minutes maximum, you can suffer from permanent hearing damage.

What type of hearing protection should I use?

Fortunately, more and more hearing protection is available to counteract this growing problem.

There are three types of hearing protectors. For a double hearing protection, we only need two types combined, so you can opt between:

Earmuffs that are worn as headphones. If these enclose the ears well, then even deadening of 30 dB is possible.

Simply, if the noise is 100 dB, your ear muffs will decrease it and you will hear only 70 dB of the noise. Wearing ear muffs can heat up your ears, but that’s pretty much of their cons, which are way less significant compared with their usage.

Earplugs. Plugs are tiny, they don’t take much space and they can’t fall off easily. They are easy to maintain and clean which makes them very economical. 

They are often not inserted properly into the hearing channel, causing insufficient damping and thus hearing damage can occur. But if you handle them by instructions, they can bring you only good. Do you need double protection? No problem, combine earplugs that you can put in your ear and put “earmuffs” on top of them!

Ear Muffs

Personal protective equipment (PPE), used almost in any field of work, both industrial, contractor, manufacturing, or services. The usage of PPE has now become a mandatory standard that must be implemented by each company as the application of prescribed standards.

The entire PPE is used according to work requirements to avoid work-related risks.

The usage of personal protective equipment on ears is a must-have item for various fields of work.

Earmuffs have a larger design - like a headset that is commonly used to listen to music. By preventing impact noise, earmuffs are highly recommendable when it comes to loud environments.

earmuffs

They are our first line of defence.

If you are exposed to a basic noise, you may need only basic ear muffs like these; low priced but very practical and useful!

If, however, you are exposed to medium or higher volumes, you might consider a little more serious equipment.

As far as medium level noise, there are some more advanced earmuffs that I could recommend. The best thing is that you can combine them with earplugs and get almost 100% noise protection!

Earplugs

The one that cares about his hearing, protects his ears!

Our ears are highly sensitive even though we don’t notice that. We notice it only when there is abnormal amount of noise, unfortunately. An abundance of sound, too loud and harmful frequencies, can negatively affect hearing. But so can medium frequencies if we are exposed to them a lot.

So, whether you're traveling or trying to catch a cat nap, relaxing in a loud place can be almost impossible. The problem-solver might be earplugs. But you need to be careful with the size and materials.

You don’t want to get some that will constantly fall off or be highly unpleasant to wear. So, to give you an insight into how helpful and handy these things can be, measured in dB, they can reduce the noise up to 34 dB.

earplugs

Now, imagine combining them with earmuffs. You know, they can easily be put together. Earplugs are small, like headphones. They will compactly fit to your earlobe, and on top of them, you can put earmuffs.

Since they are both effective products in reducing the noise, imagine what they can do if combined.

With earplugs, you will lock the ear canal for sound waves. Having earmuffs is helpful, of course. With earplug on top of it, you will close every possible hole and reduce direct noise impact by 80%.

If you just want basic, simple ear protection you get to choose between lots of plugs, the market is full of them. Personally, I’m using these earplugs and so far, they were quiet (see what I did here) helpful. For those that are losing earplugs all the time, here is an offer they can’t refuse (and lose)!

With these little protectors, you will reduce the noise to ignoring levels.

dog-with-earmuffs

I have found something really handy - earplugs with filters. These filters work specifically on certain frequencies and thus achieve a safe level. On the other side, they are working on some strange level releasing the speech sound to pass through.

Needless to say, they are perfect for working environments.

Final Word: On Double Hearing Protection

If you drink tea for preventing the cold why wouldn’t you protect your hearing with adequate methods too?

It may look odd, but if you are exposed to a lot of noise, it will save your precious and very important part of the body.

Everyone in this house think I’m crazy or silly for wearing ear muffs inside the house when working in the kitchen near dishwasher, or any other noisy machine.

I can see the difference, and how my life has changed since I absorb less noise. And as an old folk theorem says, it’s better to be safe than sorry!