85 decibels: the sound measure at which repetitive exposure can result in significant hearing damage.
100 decibels: the sound degree reached by a rock concert, which is not-so-good news for performers or live concert goers.
4 reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are significantly better than standard foam
Here are four reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are a level above foam ear plugs.
1. Conservation of sound quality
Standard foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By decreasing noise largely 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 cut sound by 30-40 decibels, which is unnecessary for the prevention of hearing damage.
Custom-fit ear plugs will decrease sound more uniformly across frequencies while reducing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby preserving the natural quality of speech and music.
2. Avoidance of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the user will notice a hollowed out or boomy sound in their speech when speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. This frustrating sound is referred as the “occlusion effect.”
Custom-fit ear plugs are molded to the ear, forming a deep seal that helps prevent this distracting sound.
3. Cost & convenience
Custom ear plugs can keep working up to four years, typically at a cost of well under $100.
Let’s do some calculations on the throw-away 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 certainly save money in the long run and will prevent all of those trips 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. Preserving 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 tossed out every year.
A Look at the Numbers
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 30 million individuals in the U.S. are subjected to unsafe sound levels, representing one of the major occupational dangers over the past 25 years.
Alarmingly, here are some decibel volumes linked with general work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newspaper press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting show 105, and a jet takeoff 150. music players, manufacturing workers, construction workers, airport staff, emergency staff, plumbers, and carpenters are all at risk of suffering from serious hearing loss and tinnitus.
Occupational hearing loss affects so many
This next story is a narrative that is all too familiar: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 there were 21,000 occurrences of work-related hearing loss documented.
Meet Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England, who is intimately knowledgeable of the occupational dangers of sound. Twigg worked on analyzing and fixing law enforcement car sirens — which reach between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
Twigg began to suffer severe tinnitus in addition to significant hearing loss that necessitated the use of hearing aids after retirement. Having failed to adopt the appropriate actions that would minimize the sound levels, Twigg’s employer was found responsible in court, losing a case in which Twigg would secure a large settlement.
How to protect your ears at work
The optimum method requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, sometimes referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing consultant can individualize specifically to you, your profession, and your preferences.
There’s a problem though: the world requires performers, craftsmen, and emergency and construction staff, but you can’t make power saws and police sirens any quieter.
The remedy? Reduce the level of noise that makes its way into your ear. Simple, right? Well…not so fast.
You could simply travel to the neighborhood store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but there’s a higher quality alternative: a custom fit.
Schedule a consultation and give protection to your ears
Take a look at the benefits of custom-fit ear plugs.
If you work in a job that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you participate in rowdy concerts or sporting events, schedule an consultation with a hearing specialist today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also conserve the quality of sound. Call your audiologist today!