There are simple and inexpensive ways to protect your precious ears.
By 2030, WHO predicts that 630 million people will have a disabling hearing loss, compared to 466 million in 2018 (or 5% of the population). The figures will rise to over 900 million in 2050 if nothing is done.
It was therefore important for us to propose simple and affordable solutions to you, so that together we can contribute to reducing these figures.
The decibel in a few figures
First of all, let's remember that the decibel is defined by a logarithmic ratio, which can lead to confusion between the figures and the actual noise emitted. In other words, going from 60 dB to 30 dB does not reduce the perceived noise by two but by much more. For example, 60 dB is equivalent to the noise of a fairly loud conversation while 30 dB is closer to the noise of a bedroom.
The European regulation of work imposes to wear a hearing protection from 85 dB (that is to say a noisy lawnmower, chainsaw or canteen) because it is from this rate that we notice harmful effects on the ear within the framework of a prolonged exposure.
In addition to these products that protect you, one of the best ways to prevent hearing loss is therefore to reduce the duration of exposure. Thus, it should be limited to 8 hours per day at 80 dB (i.e. a street with a lot of traffic), 1 hour at 89 dB (i.e. barking) and only 15 minutes in a very noisy environment, above 95 dB (i.e. a horn noise).
After this brief reminder, here are the 3 affordable and effective products that exist on the market to protect your ears.
1 - Earplugs, the cheapest solution
If these accessories seem obvious to many, they are not yet systematically in our pockets during events or in noisy places. However, earplugs are the cheapest protection, the most practical and discreet to carry and the easiest to put in place.
While these accessories may seem obvious to many, they are not yet systematically in our pockets at events or in noisy places. But earplugs are the cheapest, most convenient and discreet way to protect your ears, and the easiest to put in place.
For occasional use, we recommend Mack's Ultra Soft Foam, which comes in boxes of 50 pairs. Made of polyurethane foam, they're comfortable, easy to fit and reduce noise by up to 32 dB.
For more regular use, reusable plugs are more environmentally friendly. That's why we recommend Alpine Party Plug. They are clear and more discreet than most other plugs on the market. They attenuate sound by 19 dB while maintaining their quality, making them ideal for concerts and festivals.
Some pairs can even be molded directly into your ears for optimal protection, but they cost more.
2 - Standard noise-cancelling headphones, the solution for do-it-yourselfers
Whether it's during a big job or just trimming your hedge, the noise pollution from your DIY tools can have serious consequences. The most effective solution to protect yourself from it is the anti-noise helmet.
In our opinion, the best of the moment is the Peltor Optime III from 3M. Reducing noise by 35 dB, it is ideal for indoor or outdoor work. High performance and comfortable, this helmet has liquid-filled shells for better noise reduction. It allows you to saw, drill or cut without risk to your ears.
In addition, the ear cushions are replaceable, which is more hygienic and practical than many other models. The headband keeps the helmet securely in place on your head while avoiding excessive pressure on your ears.
3 - The anti-noise helmet for children, the solution adapted to the youngest
While teenagers and adults are regularly told about earplugs at festivals, fairs and other events, it is also increasingly common to see hearing prevention stands selling, renting or lending children's earplugs at events.
For our dear children, it is indeed easier to put a helmet on their head which ensures a better support than plugs in their small ears. So we recommend the 3M Peltor Kid headphones for them.
These headphones reduce the surrounding noise by 27 dB for children. The brand recommends it for children from 5 years old, but some users - including our Baby/Child Manager - say they have put it on their baby's head from the age of one without noticing any discomfort or poor fit. Existing for more than 10 years, this model has proven its effectiveness and durability.
What about headphones and earphones?
With the evolution of these audio accessories, we are entitled to more and more quality, connectivity and power. Unfortunately, that power can be dangerous to your ears.
To compensate for this, some manufacturers have created headphones for children. Far from being purely marketing, this approach has really good intentions since the sound volume is then maximum 80-85 dB.
Concerning adults, real progress can still be made by manufacturers who do not hesitate to sell power as an asset. Some brands exceed 103 dB, causing irreversible damage to your ears when listening at full volume for more than a few minutes.
On this subject, you should know that the WHO recommends the 60-60 rule, i.e. 60 minutes at 60% of the listening volume. In addition, there are also different applications that allow you to control the volume of your different applications.
We hope we've given you a little more insight into easy and affordable solutions to preserve your hearing. If you know of any others, please feel free to share them with us in comments!