Some projects around the home require the use of loud tools like a jackhammer, chain saw or drill. Before you tackle these tasks, insert earplugs to protect your ear drums -- they're more sensitive than you might think! If you're exposed to sounds 85 decibels or more for extended amounts of time -- which isn't unimaginable if you're using a lawn mower, leaf blower or woodworking tools -- you are contributing to noise-induced hearing loss. What's more, the damage done to your inner ear is permanent. Hearing protection devices come with a noise reduction rating (NRR), and most of them block out approximately 20 decibels of noise. You can achieve maximum reduction (about 50 decibels) by wearing canal plugs along with earmuffs. Canal plugs can be purchased over-the-counter, or you can have them custom-made.