85 decibels. That’s the sound intensity at which repeated exposure can bring about severe hearing damage.
100 decibels. That’s the sound degree reached by a rock show, which is not-so-good news for performers or concert goers.
It’s also a portion of a much bigger problem: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a staggering 30 million people in the U.S. are subjected to damaging sound volumes, representing one of the major work-related dangers over the prior 25 years.
And musicians aren’t the only ones at risk; here are some of the decibel levels connected with typical work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newsprint press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting event 105, and a aircraft takeoff 150. music players, production line workers, construction workers, airport personnel, emergency staff, plumbers, and craftsmen are all at risk of developing significant hearing loss and tinnitus.
Work-related hearing loss impacts countless numbers
Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England understands all too well about the occupational dangers of noise. Twigg worked on examining and correcting police car sirens — which range between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
After retirement, Twigg started to experience severe tinnitus in addition to intense hearing loss that obligated the use of hearing aids. Having failed to take on the protective steps that would mitigate the sound levels, Twigg’s employer was found liable in court, losing a case in which Twigg would secure a considerable settlement.
This is a story that is all too familiar: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 only there were 21,000 cases of occupational hearing loss reported.
How to protect your ears at work
So here’s the problem: the world needs musicians, craftsmen, and emergency and construction workers, but you can’t make power saws and police sirens any quieter.
The remedy? minimize the intensity of sound that makes its way into your ear. Easy, right? Well…not so fast.
You could just travel to the local store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but as it turns out, there is a much more appropriate alternative.
The optimum alternative requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, sometimes referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing specialist can personalize specifically to you, your profession, 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 superior to foam ear plugs.
1. maintenance of sound quality
Customary foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By reducing sound largely in the high frequency range, rather than in the mid-to-low frequency range, music and voices appear to be unnatural and indecipherable. Foam ear plugs also reduce sound by 30-40 decibels, which is excessive for the deterrence of hearing damage.
Custom-fit ear plugs will minimize sound more smoothly across frequencies while reducing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby maintaining the all natural character of speech and music.
2. avoidance of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the wearer will perceive a hollowed out or boomy sound in their voice when talking, singing, or playing an musical instrument. This aggravating sound is referred as the “occlusion effect.”
Custom-fit ear plugs are shaped to the ear, forming a deep seal that helps prevent this distracting sound.
3. cost & convenience
Custom ear plugs can last up to four years, almost always at a price 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 certainly save cash in the long run and will prevent all of those outings to the store. No one looks forward to picking out ear plugs, so while the initial visit to the audiologist seems like a burden, in the long run you will also save time.
4. preserving the environment
Disposable ear plugs produce a lot of waste:
5 days per week X 52 weeks per year = 260 pairs of foam ear plugs thrown out every single year.
Schedule a consultation and give protection to your ears
The many advantages of custom-fit ear plugs speak for themselves.
If you work in a profession that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you participate in very loud concerts or sporting events, schedule an consultation with a hearing expert today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also preserve the quality of sound.