Hearing protection is an important part of hearing conservation. However, different types of hearing protectors are designed for different purposes, and not all hearing protectors are created equal!

Audiologists are healthcare professionals that specialize in hearing and balance issues. For example, they may prescribe hearing aids or other devices to treat hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) caused by injury or disease-related causes like noise exposure. Audiologists do not prescribe medications, but they do work closely with physicians and otolaryngologists.

As a person's environment changes – whether it be at home, on the job site, or at an outdoor concert – different types of hearing protective devices may be needed depending upon the level of sound you face each day.

What Jobs Require Hearing Protection?

Construction Workers: 

Construction workers are exposed to loud noises every day, and hearing protection is essential. Construction workers can use three different hearing protective devices: earmuffs, plugs, or headphones. Depending upon the job site noise level, a combination of these hearing protectors may need to be worn.


Concert-goers who like music but don't want hearing damage should consider using hearing protection when attending concerts with very high decibel levels, such as rock shows in arenas without a barrier between audience members and speakers/instruments on stage. Musician's earplugs reduce sound evenly across all frequencies while still allowing them to hear a conversation and their own performance.


While hunting at ranges where firearms discharge below 140 decibels, hearing protection is not necessary. However, noise levels at shooting ranges can go as high as 140 decibels or more, and hearing protection should be used to protect your hearing when hunting.


Swimming underwater in a pool or open water presents its own challenges for protecting against hearing loss. Earplugs are the best way to keep water out of your ears while still providing some level of hearing protection from loud noises such as shouting by other swimmers and splashing.

Tennis Players: 

During tournaments, tennis players who play on indoor courts may hear sounds up to 110-120 decibels (dB). Although tennis balls usually travel over 100 MPH off the racket, they only reach around 90 dB upon contact. While hearing protection may not be necessary for tennis players, they should take breaks from playing if the sound is very loud or uncomfortable.

Hearing Protection Devices


First, hearing protectors that are worn in the ear come in several different styles and types. Some of these include foam plugs that can be molded to fit your ears perfectly and custom-fit silicone or rubber moldings made by a hearing healthcare professional specifically for you.


Earmuffs come in many different styles but work essentially the same way. Earmuffs fit over your entire ear to block out sound and noise. Most hearing healthcare professionals recommend using hearing protectors that are worn in the ear while at a shooting range or when hunting because hearing protection muffs can interfere with your ability to hear commands from other people on location.