Hearing loss is something that can affect everyone. It doesn’t matter your age, occupation or lifestyle choices–anyone that exposes themselves to loud noises can ultimately damage your hearing ability.

One of the best defenses against hearing loss is ear protection. This usually comes in the form of earplugs, earmuffs or even wax balls. Each type of hearing protection comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Hearing protection might seem like a needless expense, but it’s actually more important than you might think. To give you an idea of just how important hearing protection is, here are three different reasons to do so.

1. Permanent Hearing Loss Happens Earlier Than You Think

Hearing loss is often expressed in dB (decibels). Permanent hearing loss occurs at around the 85 dB. This is the range at which your hearing can be permanently damaged. It might seem like a lot, but let’s examine a few of the most common comparisons we can make.

A normal conversation is around 60 dB. This isn’t enough to cause damage (luckily) but here’s where it starts to ramp up.

A gunshot (such as from the weapons you would see at a shooting range) can be anywhere from 120dB to 190dB. Hearing just a single gunshot is enough to permanently damage your hearing especially if you are exposed to it on a regular basis, hence why many people decide to use hearing protection when they shoot.

As another example, a hand drill that is in use can produce up to 100 dB of sound. So if you’re going to install shelves or build something out of wood as a DIY project, you’d be wise to wear hearing protection.

2. Ear Protection Is Cheaper Than You Think

So it’s clear that hearing loss can happen much earlier than you think, but why should you invest in hearing protection?

Simple; because it’s cheap. A pair of earplugs will only set you back a few dollars. Earmuffs aren’t much more expensive and you can even purchase larger sets of ear protectors for a relatively cheap price.

When you compare this to the cost of hearing aids (not to mention the cost of your own well-being as a result of losing your hearing) it’s a simple investment to make.

In many cases, if you work in an environment that requires ear protection (such as a construction site) then you can often get your employer to equip you with ear protection for free.

3. It’s Easy to Protect Your Hearing for the Future

As you can see, all it takes is a little investment in order to protect the future of your hearing. You just need to invest a couple of dollars into a pair of earplugs and you’ll be able to shield your ears from loud noises.

Since it’s such a small investment and easy to use, there’s no reason not to use ear protection especially if you use power tools or if you work in an industry that exposes you to louder noises.