It may be awkward to wear earplugs to a concert or other social occasion, but doing so can help preserve hearing. Obviously, not all noise is harmful to the ears. But sounds above 70 decibels for long periods of time can cause hearing loss.
A normal conversation is considered to be around 60 decibels, while the hum of a refrigerator is 40 dB. Exceeding 70 dB makes sounds annoying at best (city traffic) or harmful at worst (a motorcycle, lawnmowers, power tools). For this reason, health professionals recommend wearing earplugs in these common situations.
Concerts or sporting events
Whether it’s loud music or the roar of the crowd, the noise is loud enough to hurt your ears. With sound that reaches 100 to 110 dB, hearing loss can be caused after just five minutes of exposure. Although noise levels depend on the venue and type of event, if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone next to you, it indicates that it is too loud and we must wear earplugs.
Noisy bars or restaurants
Some bars and restaurants are more relaxed, people speak in a normal voice. In other places, you have to yell for someone to hear you. These bars can also reach a dangerous 110 dB, so you should wear earplugs. The good news is that you should still be able to talk to people.
When you wear earplugs, speech and sound are attenuated, but the speech-to-noise ratio does not change. Meaning, it shouldn’t be any harder to hear with earplugs in.
Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and power tools are powerful enough to cause hearing damage. Some of these can cause quick bursts of loud noise, so even if we use them for a short period of time, we’ll wear earplugs.
Another option besides earplugs is ear muffs, which are often more effective than earplugs because they provide better ear coverage.
To dry the hair
If you use or work with a hair dryer on a daily basis, experts recommend wearing earplugs. At 94 dB, and the noise source placed so close to the ears, a hair dryer can damage hearing.
As you sleep
Not everyone needs earplugs to sleep, but if you’re in an area with a lot of ambient noise, earplugs can help drown out outside noise that can disturb your sleep. As long as you insert them correctly and you don’t have any issues that prevent you from using them, earplugs should be safe to wear every night.