FORT MEADE, Md. -- Most people are aware that hazardous noise damages hearing, but protecting ourselves while we live and work in a world of often-dangerous noise is not easy.
There is a hearing protector for every kind of activity. Whether it is a recreational activity that involves shooting such as hunting, concerts, boating or fishing, or going to a NASCAR or other sporting event, people can reduce their hazardous sound exposure by listening to music and other good sounds below the halfway point for the volume control on the device.
Hearing also can be preserved by limiting the listening time and giving the ears quiet time to recover.
There are many forms of hearing protection. Earplugs, earmuffs, and communications and protection systems such as Tactical Communications and Protective Systems come in different styles and are convenient to use.
When do people need hearing protection? If a person stands three-feet away from someone and has to raise his or her voice above the background sounds, or if a person is facing someone and the noise is so loud that the other person can be heard from this distance, hearing protectors are necessary.
Be sure to insert earplugs properly before venturing into a noisy environment. For example, foam earplugs are inserted at least three-fourths of their length into the ear canal. Even very young children can wear earplugs since very small sizes are available.
If people are unsure whether their hearing protectors are the right fit or correct style, they can check with the installation hearing program manager, the unit hearing program officer, an audiologist or a hearing technician.
It is no longer inevitable that people retire from the Army with hearing loss.
Research demonstrates that if people wear their hearing protection properly and at the right time, they can retire with their hearing intact.
For more information about how the Army Hearing Program supports Soldiers, go to
http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/workplacehealth/hrc/Pages/RelatedSites.aspx and http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/workplacehealth/hrc/Pages/default.aspx.
Col. Marjorie Grantham, Army Hearing Program Manager, U.S. Army Public Health Command