Hearing loss can be a direct effect of many occupations, recreational activities and general exposure to loud environmental sounds.
Hearing protection includes ear plugs and earmuffs that are made to reduce the intensity or loudness of sound. Cotton in the ears is not considered appropriate ear protection. It cannot effectively block the ear canal. It has been found to reduce sound by only 5-7 dB.
Ear plugs - are placed into the ear canal so that they totally block the canal. They come in various pre-made shapes and sizes, or they can be custom-made by taking an impression of the ear. Ear plugs can reduce noise 15-30 dB depending on how they are made and fit.
Ear muffs - fit completely over both ears. Again, they must fit tightly so that sound is blocked from entering the ears. Like earplugs, muffs can reduce noise 15-30 dB depending on how they are made and fit.
Ear plugs and ear muffs - can be used together to achieve even greater sound reduction. Use of ear plugs and ear muffs is recommended when noise exposure is particularly high