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What can you use ear defenders for? Pretty much any activity where you want to protect your hearing or block out background noises. Here are 27 of the most common uses for ear defenders.
1. Attending fireworks displays
Fireworks displays are great fun, especially for children. But they’re also very loud, and can do lasting damage to kids’ sensitive ears. It’s a great idea to get some ear defenders in time for fireworks night so your children can enjoy the fireworks without damaging their hearing.
2. Blocking out the sound of a baby crying
Everyone knows babies can have a devastating effect on your sleep. And it’s not just the parents who suffer—if you live next door to a newborn baby you might also be struggling to sleep or just to relax. Ear defenders can help block out the sound of a baby crying, helping you catch up on sleep and concentrate on other things.
3. Concentrating in the office
Open plan offices are very fashionable at the moment, but they can make it much harder for you to concentrate and get things done. Ear defenders can help you block out your co-workers’ distracting conversations and help you focus on the task at hand.
DJing regularly is likely to inflict significant damage on your hearing unless you protect your ears with ear plugs or ear defenders. Ear defender headphones could be a good option if you want to protect your hearing while being able to clearly hear the music.
5. Doing DIY
DIY tends to be quite noisy, especially if you’re using power tools such as drills. Some good ear defenders will help prevent your ears from ringing the next day, which is a sign of long-term hearing damage.
Many people feel pain in their ears when flying due to the changes in pressure. Planes can also be quite noise and distracting, so a good pair of ear defenders could help you avoid ear pain while sleeping or concentrating on reading.
Gardening often involves noisy equipment such as lawn mowers, strimmers and hedge trimmers. It’s a good idea to wear ear defenders to protect your hearing while using these tools.
If you’re trimming the hedge or cutting a branch off a tree you might want to buy some ear defenders with a built-in visor to protect your eyes from debris.
8. Going to concerts and music festivals
Concerts and music festivals can be extremely loud (a rock concert can be 120 dB, which is significantly louder than a chainsaw). It’s a sensible (if not particularly cool) idea to wear some kind of hearing protection, be it transparent ear plugs or more noticeable ear defenders. Ear defenders are a particularly good option for children, who are less self-conscious about wearing ear defenders at concerts.
9. Going to the cinema
Children and adults with an above-average level of sensitivity to sound can find the cinema to be too far too loud. Ear defenders are a comfortable way to reduce the volume.
Hearing damage is one of the hazards of shooting sports including hunting. Specially designed ear muffs for shooting will help you enjoy hunting and shooting without worrying about hearing loss.
11. Mowing the lawn
Lawn mowers produce a sound that is at least 85 dB in volume, which is the threshold at which sound starts to cause long-term hearing damage. Ear defenders are a cheap and comfortable way to protect your hearing while mowing the lawn. Here are some of the best ear defenders for mowing the lawn.
12. Operating machinery
If you operate industrial machinery on a regular basis, you should be using some kind of hearing protection. In fact, your employer has a legal duty to provide ear protection if you are routinely exposed to sounds over 85 dB.
13. Playing the drums
Drums are one of the loudest instruments, so regularly practicing the drums can do more damage to your hearing than practising the acoustic guitar, for example. You might also want a pair of ear defenders if you live in the same house as someone who plays the drums! See this article for some recommended hearing protection for drummers.
14. Preventing sensory overload
Those who experience sensory overload can benefit greatly from wearing ear defenders. People with autism in particular often find ear defenders useful in blocking out distressing noises and helping to relax.
15. Preventing tinnitus
Tinnitus, a condition that creates a constant sensation of ringing in the ears, is one of the main risks of exposing yourself to loud sounds. Wearing ear defenders can help prevent tinnitus from developing, or stop it getting worse if you are already suffering from it.
If you find it hard to concentrate on your book while reading in public places or when there’s a lot going on around you, ear defenders can help you focus and block out the world.
If you go clay pigeon shooting or practice at a shooting range, you ought to wear some good ear defenders for shooting. These could be either passive ear defenders, which reduce the volume of all sounds, or electronic ear defenders which amplify quiet sounds such as conversation and bird sounds.
Many people struggle to get their 8 hours of sleep due to snoring partners and neighbours’ parties. If you don’t mind sleeping on your back, ear defenders could help you get a good night’s rest.
It’s hard to study for exams when there’s chaos going on around you. Ear defenders can help students focus on studying rather than being distracted by background noise.
20. Taking children to weddings and parties
Wedding and parties can be very loud, which can damage children’s hearing and/or cause them distress. Ear defenders will help protect their hearing and prevent them from getting agitated. See these top ear defenders for children.
21. Using a Chainsaw
Chainsaws can be as loud as 119 dB—enough to cause significant damage to your hearing. It’s best to use a chainsaw with ear defenders, a hard hat and a visor. Sometimes you can buy all three bundled together in one package.
Vacuum cleaners typically produce about 70 dB of noise, which is unlikely to cause hearing damage. However, the sound of vacuum cleaners can be very unpleasant and irritating, so ear defenders will make the task of vacuuming more enjoyable.
23. Visiting an air show
Air shows are great fun, but they’re also extremely loud. Planes are some of the loudest things on the planet, the sound of a jet taking off is loud enough cause eardrum rupture. The noise level at an air show won’t be that bad, but it can still damage your hearing.
24. Watching a football match
If you’re planning to take your kids to a football match, it might be a good idea to get them some ear defenders. A football match between Galatasaray SC and Fenerbahce broke the Guiness Record for “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium” in 2011, measuring 131.76 dB, which is about the same as a military jet taking off (130 dB).
25. Watching Formula One and motorsports
Like football matches, Formula One races and other motorsports are very loud. Wearing ear defenders or ear plugs at these events is a good idea for both adults and children.
26. Wearing in hospital
Hospital wards can be noisy and stressful. If you’re spending a few nights in hospital, a pair of ear defenders will help you block out what’s going on around you and relax.
27. Working in construction
Construction workers are one of the most at-risks groups of people when it comes to hearing loss. About 95% of construction workers are exposed to high levels of noise on a daily basis. Wearing appropriate hearing protection is essential to preventing long-term hearing loss if you work in construction. See this roundup of the best ear defenders for construction for some of the top options.
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