Decibels and Your Hearing Almost everybody understands at a very young age the importance of the senses – to be able to feel, to smell, to see, and also to hear – even if we do not often sit back and think what a world without these abilities would be like. Only once our ability to enjoy these senses is interfered with, do we truly appreciate what we once had. That is also why kids are taught not to look at the sun directly, or expose their ears to too much noise – especially once they grow up and start listening to loud rock and other music in clubs and pubs, beer halls and bars. The same, even more so, applies to employees that work around noisy machines day in and day out, or around loud jet engines and aeroplanes. Constant exposure to such loud noise will indeed have an adverse effect on your hearing. Some may go deaf as a result. That is why people are warned all the time to protect their ears as much as possible from such loud sounds – very often with the help of ear muffs or plugs that will help to alleviate the issue. Organisations such as, for example, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in Maryland support initiatives to make the public aware of what hearing loss is about, and what some of its causes could be. Their website offers valuable information in this regard to help the public understand some core issues. Sound, for example, is measured in units referred to as dB, or decibels; the higher the dB, the less possible damage to your hearing, and vice versa. Some basic examples to explain what levels of sound should be acceptable to be exposed to – and what not – should suffice. For example: normal conversation between people is measured at around 60 - 70 dB; loud music through your teenager’s headphones at high volume at around 110 dB and sirens at, say, 130 – with a jet engine at roughly 140. Hunters and shooters are among those that are often exposed to harsh, unpleasant sound. It should not surprise anybody that the sound that emanates from a gun or rifle is released at around 140 dB as well, much the same as a jet engine’s sound levels. It is therefore easy to accept that the person that listens to jet engines all the time – and the hunter, the competition shooter, the instructor at the shooting range – will be exposed to abnormally high dB. Often.
These high levels are enough to cause permanent damage to your ability to hear properly, and some may go deaf as a result sooner or later. This condition is referred to as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and most hunters and shooters have either heard of the term, or they are already taking precautions against this situation developing. It is said that not only those that are exposed to such noise all the time, are at risk. It can even happen that you suffer damage to your ears after one exposure! Having this knowledge, most hunters and shooters – and those that work in noisy environments all the time – now make sure they wear protective gear over their ears when they go out shooting, practicing and hunting. Fortunately there are options to choose from: ear muffs and ear plugs. Muffs are typically the protective gear that is placed over the ears whereas plugs go inside the ear. Of course muffs are more cumbersome to wear, to put on and take off as you move around whereas plugs stay in the ear for as long as you’re out there. It has to be mentioned, though, that not all plugs and muffs are the same and offer the same protection. In terms of plugs there are some great choices today, also technologically advanced options from specialist suppliers that design excellent plugs that, for example, block out high dB and harsh sounds while at the same time letting normal, pleasant sound such as conversation, through. These can be bought from leading manufacturers and specialist retailers and dealers – and with the added advantage that they are customized for the individual and therefore made to order. About Us: Electronic Shooters Protection (ESP) has been in business for more than 20 years and provides the best in terms of electronic protection for ears. Products are custom made to fit the individual’s ears so as to allow maximum protection while still hearing sound. You hear all natural sounds in the area and you can actually enjoy normal conversation, but our products will protect you from the harmful effects of loud and damaging sounds such as gunfire. Our digital products are state of the art and among the best available on the market. For more information about ESP and our top range of products, please get in touch by visiting : https://www.espamerica.com