Like many things it’s easy to forget. “I’m just going to blow off the back patio, it only takes a few minutes.” Or how about, “Wear ear protection for mowing the lawn? The lawn mower is not loud.” Sound familiar? Wearing hearing protection, and eye protection for that matter, is an easy thing to either forget or just not think about at all.
An optometrist friend of mine told me many years ago that most eye injuries occur at home and on the weekends . . . makes sense, right? In a noisy work environment it’s mandatory to wear eye protection and ear plugs, but at home, nah. However, unlike your eyes, you may not realize you’ve done damage until later on.
Noise-induced hearing loss is function of volume and time. A lower volume of noise or sound, over time, can be just as damaging as a sudden loud sound such as firearms. I would rather be on the safe side by wearing hearing protection around any power equipment. Often times when we listen to our body, it will tell us when it’s too loud: if it bothers you it’s too loud. If you’ve been in a noisy place, such as a concert, and your ears are ringing afterwards, you’ve done some permanent, irreversible damage.
Wearing earplugs or earmuffs can be inconvenient, it’s true. So get several sets and leave them around. I have a pair of muffs that I slip over my head and hearing aids that are hanging by the garage door for when I blow off the back porch. I almost always use custom plugs otherwise. But it only takes maybe a minute to blow off the porch.
There are basically three types of hearing protection: ear muffs, stock ear plugs (like the foam ones that you squeeze smaller and expand in your ear), and custom. Like many things there are advantages to all of them and I use all of them for different occasions. I use muffs for blowing off the porch because they’re fast, simple, and can be used over my hearing aids. The disposable plugs I have all over the place. They are great to carry for backup on a motorcycle, in your truck, tool box, etc. The custom earplugs can be made for many different purposes such as shooting, musician plugs, sleep plugs, motorcycle riding, etc. They fit well and are comfortable.
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