Preventing work related hearing loss with high fidelity, custom-fit ear plugs
85 decibels. That’s the noise intensity at which repeated exposure can bring on severe hearing damage.
100 decibels. that is the sound measure reached by a rock concert, which is not-so-good news for performers or concert goers.
It’s also part of a larger problem: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a staggering 30 million individuals in the U.S. are subjected to to damaging sound volumes, representing one of the major work-related hazards over the prior 25 years.
And musicians aren’t the only ones at risk; here are some of the decibel volumes associated with commonplace work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newspaper press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting show 105, and a aircraft takeoff 150. performers, manufacturing plant workers, construction workers, airport staff, emergency workers, plumbers, and craftsmen are all at risk of developing significant hearing loss and tinnitus.
Occupational hearing loss impacts countless numbers
Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England understands all too well about the work-related dangers of noise. Twigg worked on evaluating and correcting police car sirens — which reach between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
After retiring, Twigg began to suffer from intense tinnitus in addition to considerable hearing loss that called for the usage of hearing aids. Having failed to adopt the safety actions that would mitigate the noise levels, Twigg’s employer was found accountable in court, losing a case in which Twigg would secure a large settlement.
This is a story that is all too familiar: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 alone there were 21,000 occurrences of work-related hearing loss documented.
How to protect your ears at work
So here’s the problem: the world requires music players, contractors, and emergency and construction workers, but you can’t make power saws and law enforcement sirens any quieter.
The solution? Reduce the level of noise that makes its way into your ear. Easy, right? Well…not so fast.
You could just simply travel to the neighborhood store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but as it turns out, there is a much more desirable alternative.
The ideal method requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, often times referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing consultant can tailor specifically to you, your occupation, and your requirements.
4 reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are more effective than the off-the-shelf foam variety
Here are four reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are far superior to foam ear plugs.
1. conservation of sound quality
Conventional foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By reducing sound mostly in the high frequency range, rather than in the mid-to-low frequency range, music and voices appear to be unnatural and unclear. Foam ear plugs also minimize sound by 30-40 decibels, which is not needed for the prevention of hearing damage.
Custom-fit ear plugs will lessen sound more equally across frequencies while reducing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby preserving the organic character of speech and music.
2. avoidance of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the user will perceive a hollowed out or boomy sound in their speech when speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. This pestering sound is known as the “occlusion effect.”
Custom-fit ear plugs are shaped to the ear, producing a deep seal that prevents this distracting sound.
3. Price & convenience
Custom ear plugs can last up to four years, in most cases at a cost of well below $100.
Let’s do some calculations on the disposable foam plugs:
$3.99 for 10 pairs equals $0.39 per pair
$0.39 per pair X 5 days per week X 52 weeks per year X 4 years = $405.60
With custom-fit ear plugs, you will save cash in the long run and will prevent all of those journeys to the store. No one enjoys purchasing ear plugs, so while the initial visit to the audiologist seems like a burden, in the long run you will also save yourself time.
4. Protecting the environment
Throw-away ear plugs generate a lot of waste:
5 days per week X 52 weeks per year = 260 pairs of foam ear plugs thrown out every year.
Schedule a consultation and give protection to your ears
The benefits of custom-fit ear plugs speak for themselves.
If you work in a industry that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you attend rowdy live shows or sporting events, schedule an appointment with a hearing consultant today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also conserve the quality of sound.