Many people use earplugs and earmolds to protect their hearing against loud noises.  The question here is, will hearing aids or the earmolds affixed to hearing aids afford the same type of protection as traditional earmolds and earplugs?

Hearing aids – when to turn them down?

Firstly, it’s important to note that the main purpose of hearing aids is to supply more range of hearing.  This means that if hearing aids are left on when the wearer is being exposed to loud noises such as drills, lawnmowers and loud music, this can further damage the ear because the hearing aid will make the noise louder than it would otherwise be.

Turning your hearing aid off is an effective way to protect your hearing when it is safe and convenient to do so.  For example, when crossing a road with heavy traffic, the sounds of vehicles going by will be amplified by your hearing aid but turning it off may not be wise.  In this instance, turning the volume of your hearing aid down should prevent pain or damage to your ear, without putting you in harm’s way.

Hearing aid moulds – do they provide protection?

A hearing aid mould is the part of a hearing aid that goes into your ear canal.  If this is tightly fitted to your ear in a way that is similar to an earplug, it is reasonable to expect that it would provide some level of hearing protection.  However, even a tightly fitted unvented earmold will not provide sufficient protection against harmful sounds above 85dB such as:

  • Factory machinery
  • Pneumatic drills
  • Car horns
  • Ambulance sirens
  • Fire alarms
  • Lawnmowers
  • MP3 players (above 60% of the maximum volume)

When using or exposed to any of the above sounds or similar, it is important to wear hearing protection, even if you also wear hearing aids.

Hearing protection with hearing aids

It is possible to obtain hearing protection that works alongside your hearing aids so that you can keep your hearing aids in whilst protecting your hearing.  For example, some ear protectors will significantly reduce the level of noise coming from a piece of machinery, whilst covering a hearing aid.  In this instance, by leaving your hearing aid in, when the machinery stops or is turned off, you should still be able to hear other noises around you, such as a colleague speaking to you.

Advice about hearing protection

Our specialist audiologists based in Leicester and Market Harborough are able to recommend the ideal hearing solution for you, based on your individual hearing requirements.  This might comprise the use of hearing aids as well as other forms of hearing protection, including:

  • Industrial ear protection
  • Motorcycle and motorsport ear protection
  • Sleep earplugs
  • Runners’ ear phones
  • Shooting earplugs

For advice about finding the right type of hearing protection for you, email us at [email protected] or call us to book an appointment on 0116 254 3909.