Can Airpods pro be used in 2022 as a hearing protection device?
You know many worries that the day may come where they must wear their hearing protection in public like at theatres or concerts. So, what can we do? Well, Airpods Pro has been developed as an excellent solution for such a dilemma.
Air pods pro are a hearing protection device that slips down over your ears, blocking out the sound of machinery and helping you concentrate on other tasks. They provide a 5 dB noise reduction at 500 Hz, 10 dB at 1000 Hz, 15 dB at 2000 Hz.
Apart from it they come with specifications that meet the required threshold for hearing protection from occupational noises such as those from factories or construction sites. That's why they have received widespread attention, thanks to their wide availability and affordability.
But are these devices as safe as they sound!
It's easy to see the appeal of these devices, primarily when they're marketed as a way of keeping you safe without you even realizing it. They were initially designed for use with wireless headphones but now come in "pro" models that you can wear around your neck or over your ears.
For hearing protection, Airpods Pro is primarily advertised as a way to keep your ears safe from noise during concerts and air travel. The problem with this concept is twofold: you might not be using them correctly, and there are legitimate concerns about the effects these devices might have on your hearing in the long term.
How exactly do Airpods function?
The idea behind AirPods Pro is that they will block out external noise while you're wearing them. However, it's unclear how much of the external noise they block and whether that's enough to protect your ears. The way they work is by plugging directly into your ears, blocking off the ear canal. They are equipped with sound dampeners, filters, and microphones to adjust to the external environment.
What Factors should you consider about Airpods?
Many decisive factors need to be considered when deciding whether these devices are effective. For one, they're small—an 8-inch radius of external noise is all that's blocked. If the external noise is too close to you or louder than the ambient sounds inside of your headphones, then you might not be getting a significantly reduced amount of sound.
If the external noise is more audible than what's comfortable for you, you'll be able to hear it through your Air pods pro because of their proximity to your ears and the limited space they take up. However, if the external noise levels are like or lower than the ambient sounds inside of your headphones, then you might experience reduced hearing damage over time.
Alternatively, you may be able to hear your surroundings but aren't aware of them. It is a known phenomenon called attentional deafness, when you can listen to something but have trouble identifying it.
Therefore, you might wear your Air pods pro when working in a noisy environment, only to put them on and find that you've lost track of what everyone around you is saying. It is especially concerning for those wearing these devices for extended periods.
What level of irritation can Airpods create?
The level at which this irritation can be experienced depends on several factors: personal hearing sensitivity, duration of exposure, and volume sensitivity. People experience similar annoyance levels from higher frequencies than lower ones, so annoying sounds with high frequencies will be more prominent than those with lower frequencies.
For instance, for people with normal hearing, the threshold for annoyance is 70 dB or higher at 500 Hz and 70 dB or higher at 1000 Hz. However, hearing impairment patients can experience irritation at 50 dB or lower at 500 Hz and 60 dB or lower at 1000 Hz. Insects will have difficulty hearing above 60 dB, while a baby's cry has an average level of 85 dB.
In addition to the more annoying noises, you'll also experience other effects of hearing loss, including mild tinnitus, which is when your ears ring or sound like they're full of fluid.
The bottom line is that it's not clear how much protection Air pods pro gives you or the long-term effects of wearing them. The FDA recommends three graduated levels of hearing protection, with earplugs being the most restrictive and noise-cancelling headphones being the least.
What else should you know about Airpods?
There are several other ways to protect your ears while still allowing you to hear outside. Earmuffs or earplugs can do the same thing as Air pods pro without causing any damage to the inside of your ears.
You can also use earmuffs for heavy machinery and loud firearms, often when you must work outdoors. It's if you want a cheap alternative to earphones or earplugs, but AirPods Pro have their delicacy and user experience :D
Use ear protection when working around loud machinery.
If you work in a factory or near heavy machinery, it's essential to invest in hearing protection. If you can't afford to buy custom earplugs, you can try a less expensive option like the E-A-Soft earplugs.
Use ear protection whenever you can.
If your active lifestyle includes hunting or shooting, you should consider investing in a pair of custom-moulded earplugs or in-ear headphones like Airpods Pro. These are specially designed for you!
Use covers for your ears when using loud equipment.
If you need to be around loud equipment for a long time, try using ear covers over your ears instead of headphones or earplugs. These protect your ears in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones, but they don't cover both sides of your head. For more information on the best earmuffs, check out our guide to the best hearing protection for shooting.
Conclusion: Should you buy Airpods pro?
Maybe, while there's a lot of hype surrounding Air pods pro, they're still new, and there's very little data on their effectiveness as hearing protection devices. However, they are a step above traditional earplugs, which is why we recommend using them instead of earplugs if you need to be around loud machinery or firearms for an extended period.
Most people cannot tolerate even the slightest amount of damage to their inner ears, which means that earplugs and Air pods pro need to be used in moderation. You should always wear them while using loud machinery or near gunfire, but they shouldn't be worn every day or during recreational activities like biking or swimming. So why not check awesome Plug Tech deals to grab an AirPods pair for yourself!