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Tools to protect your hearing

Contributed by , staff writer for Healthy Hearing |

When you ride a bike, you wear a helmet. When you go rollerblading, you throw on a pair of knee and elbow pads too. When you’re spending time out in the sun, you lather on sunscreen and don a pair of sunglasses. But what do you do to protect your ears when you’re in a noisy environment?

Unfortunately, abusing our ears is more fashionable than protecting them. Consider the high volume of sound that is constantly pumped into your life: mp3 players, concerts, sports venues, restaurants, bars and just about any public event. Many people only stop to think about protecting their ears when they’re around construction or in a similar situation. But the truth of the matter is, hearing loss can occur gradually through excessive environmental noise of any kind, not just the extreme volume of a nearby jackhammer.

hearing protection
There are numerous options 
available to help prevent
hearing loss, from custom
earplugs to headphones. 


Safety equipment has become an integral part of so many activities, so why is hearing protection still not one of them? You may have a closet filled with football pads and soccer shin guards, but do you own a pair of earplugs?

Here are a few different options available for protecting your ears in a variety of activities.


These convenient little foam or silicone cones are cheap and easily found. A six-pack of earplugs starts at $2.00 on Amazon, so there’s no need to break the bank on them. Keeping a pack handy in your home or car is a great way to protect your ears if you ever find yourself in an unexpectedly noisy situation. A number of different styles of earplugs exist as well, including models that wrap around the back of your head for a more secure fit. 

Custom earplugs

If you’re around excessive noise often, you might benefit from investing in custom-molded earplugs. Do-it-yourself kits are available to purchase online, starting around $10. The kit consists of a putty, which you place in your outer ear canal. After a few minutes, the putty dries and you have a set of custom-fit earplugs perfect for using while mowing the lawn, hunting, visiting the race track, or operating heavy machinery.

Water plugs

Water plugs differ from regular earplugs in that they’re designed to let sounds in, yet still keep water out. These plugs are popular with avid swimmers, who use them to protect against swimmer’s ear, a condition in which water is trapped in the ear canal. Untreated swimmer’s ear can lead to infections and further complications.

Water ear bands

Ear bands, or head bands, also exist as an alternative to water plugs. The idea is the same, yet instead of a soft plug that fits in your ear, you wear a simple headband that covers your entire ear. Plus, it will keep the hair out of your eyes while you’re putting in laps.


A pair of noise-cancelling safety headphones might be a better choice if complete insulation is what you’re after. Many people who work in construction often use these, as do people who visit gun ranges. Some models even offer built-in speakers, so that you can listen to music while you work. But make sure not to turn the volume up too loud!

Baby ear protection

Earplugs, water protection and headphones are all available for your little one as well. If the situation is potentially damaging to your ears, then it’s definitely harmful to theirs. Remember that healthy hearing is directly tied to your baby or child’s cognitive development, so it’s essential to keep their ears well-protected.

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Fauquier ENT Consultants
550 Hospital Dr
Warrenton, VA 20186

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Gainesville, VA 20155

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Ear Nose and Throat Associates - Gainesville
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Gainesville, VA 20155

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Leesburg, VA 20176

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