2020 taught us many important lessons, but one specifically stood out to us. Sometimes you just need to block out all the noise- whether it’s bad news, screaming kiddos, or day-to-day commotion.
While we hope 2021 brings you more peace and quiet, don’t forget the importance of blocking noise and protecting your ears.
Here are 5 reasons why your New Year’s Resolution should include prioritizing your hearing health:
1. The world is getting louder...
Yes, you heard that correctly. Emerging technologies that make our lives easier also make our world noisier. According to the CDC (1), you can suffer permanent hearing damage in as quickly as 1 minute depending on how loud the noise is. Let’s look at some sounds you regularly hear:
- Lawn mower = 90 dB; permanent hearing loss in 2 hours
- Diesel truck at highway speeds (2) = 96dB; permanent hearing loss in 30 minutes
- Hedge trimmer (3) = 103 dB; permanent hearing loss in 7.5 minutes
- Crowd cheering after a touchdown (4) = 109 dB; permanent hearing loss in less than 2 minutes
...and it’s not getting any quieter.
The American National Park Service has been researching outdoor park acoustics and estimates that noise pollution doubles, or even triples, every thirty years (5).
2. Traditional earbuds and headphones are destroying your hearing.
Mainstream earbuds and headphones often allow a maximum volume output over 100dB. That means those free earbuds that came with your phone, or the headphones you picked up waiting in line at the grocery, can cause hearing damage in just 15 minutes. Now imagine listening to traditional earbuds at max volume in noisy environments - maybe while mowing the grass or working in the shop? The hearing damage could be severe.
While we recommend switching to headphones or earbuds with dB volume limiters, we know it may be hard to part ways with your favorite pair of headphones. Here’s how you can limit your volume output on your smartphone device without tossing your go-to earbuds:
iOS: Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety > Reduce Loud Sounds
You can also choose to receive Headphone Notifications that alert you when you exceed the recommended 7-day volume limit. The volume will then be turned down.
Android: Settings > Sound > Volume
Android devices allow you to independently limit the volume for media, phone calls, your ringtone, and more. We recommend limiting media and phone call output to around 70% full volume, or around 85 dB.
3. Hearing protection is the cheaper solution to hearing conservation.
Let’s look at the average price of typical hearing protection:
Disposable earplugs: $0.10 / pair
Reusable earplugs: $10.00 / pair
Passive Earmuffs: $15.00 / pair
Electronic Earmuffs: $80.00 / pair
Wired Earplug Headphones: $30.00 / pair
Wireless Earplug Headphones: $60 - $100 / pair
Now let’s look at the average price of hearing aids (6):
Low end: $1,500 per hearing aid or $3,000 / pair
Mid end: $2,000 per hearing aid or $4,000 / pair
High end: $2,500 per hearing aid or $5,000 / pair
These prices do not include doctors’ visits, hearing tests, or hearing aid batteries. Nor do they account for the 3-5 year lifespan of a hearing aid, after which it must be replaced. It’s easy to see that hearing protection pays for itself.
4. Hearing loss can lead to other more serious diseases.
If you think hearing aids are expensive, just wait until you see the other health implications hearing loss can have on the body. Hearing loss is linked to sleep disorders, heart disease, hypertension, and dementia (7).
Note. From “Environmental Noise Pollution in the United States: Developing an Effective Public Health Response,” by Monica S. Hammer,1 Tracy K. Swinburn,2 and Richard L. Neitze, 2014, Environ Health Perspect, 122(2): pg. 115–119. Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives
So how does this happen? Late stage hearing loss leads to decreased quality of life, social isolation, and slower cognitive processing. While your brain is trying to pick up the sounds you used to easily hear, it struggles to focus on learning, balance, and conversation. This wears on the body physically and mentally, leading to a swarm of more serious health conditions (8).
5. There’s no excuse! Hearing protection is no longer uncomfortable and restrictive.
The days of bulky earmuffs and boring earplugs have come and gone. Here at ISOtunes, we’ve created comfortable products that protect your hearing while giving you access to the audio and communication technology you love.
With ISOtunes earplugs and earmuffs, you can listen to music and podcasts while working in the loudest environments - all without damaging your hearing or disrupting your quality of life.
Our favorite hearing protectors for 2021: