Professionals know that the constant onslaught of noise and sound at various levels can cause permanent hearing damage. The patterns are starting earlier than ever. Educational toy makers require young kids to use ear buds to listen to computerized learning devices. More and more minivans and cars come equipped with video players that young children watch with ear buds. For parents and children, they can’t escape the new world of sound.
Health professionals now have an opportunity to give patients a responsible way to take advantage of the latest technologies without putting their hearing at greater risk. Common sense says lower volumes pose less risk of hearing loss. Anything over 85 dB exposure for extended periods of time can cause permanent hearing loss.
Passive vs. Active Hearing Protection
Passive Hearing Protection has no electronic sound dampening technology. Passive hearing protection uses traditional earmuff or earplug designs to muffle the sound to an acceptable level. Passives tend to be less expensive, and provide sound attenuation in the range of 20-30 dB across most of the hearing spectrum.
Passive and active noise reduction can be combined to offer a good solution for users that are in high noise environments the majority of the day as part of their jobs.
Active noise reduction works well with frequencies below 500 Hz and passive takes over for frequencies above 500 hertz
In this typical active/passive noise reduction scenario (above) you can see that Active noise reduction compensates for passive reduction between 100-300 Hz. It is safe to say that passive noise reduction in this model functions in a much wider frequency range then active noise reduction.
Passive noise reduction seeks to eliminate outside interfering noise so you can listen more easily to music and other types of audio. With headphones that fit inside your ear, noise reduction is achieved by using a custom mold to create a seal in your ear canal. With headphones that fit around the outside of your ear, advanced foams and padding block outside noise and create a quieter environment. Active noise reduction uses a separate, complicated system that sends out sound waves designed to cancel outside noise.