85 decibels. That’s the noise intensity at which repetitive exposure can trigger significant hearing damage.
100 decibels. That’s the noise measure reached by a rock concert, which is not-so-good news for music players or concert goers.
It’s also a component of a larger problem: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), roughly 30 million people in the U.S. are subjected to harmful sound volumes, representing one of the foremost work-related risks over the previous 25 years.
And performers aren’t the only ones at risk; here are some of the decibel levels associated with familiar work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newspaper press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting show 105, and a plane takeoff 150. performers, manufacturing plant workers, construction workers, airport employees, emergency staff, plumbers, and craftsmen are all at risk of developing serious hearing loss and tinnitus.
Occupational hearing loss affects countless numbers
Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England understands all too well about the work-related risks of noise. Twigg worked on evaluating and correcting police car sirens — which hit between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
After retirement, Twigg started to experience intense tinnitus in addition to drastic hearing loss that necessitated the usage of hearing aids. Having failed to adopt the protective procedures that would minimize the sound levels, Twigg’s employer was found responsible in court, losing a case in which Twigg would gain a large 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 documented.
How to protect your ears at work
So here’s the problem: the world needs music players, contractors, and emergency and construction staff, but you can’t really make power saws and police sirens any quieter.
The answer? lessen the intensity of sound that comes in through your ear. straightforward, right? Well…not so fast.
You could simply just drive to the nearby store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but as it turns out, there is a much more appropriate alternative.
The ideal solution requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, sometimes referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing practitioner can individualize specifically to you, your profession, and your preferences.
4 reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are more efficient 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
Traditional foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By decreasing sound primarily 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 deterrence of hearing injury.
Custom-fit ear plugs will diminish sound more equally across frequencies while reducing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby preserving the organic quality of speech and music.
2. Avoidance of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the wearer will experience a hollowed out or boomy sound in their speech when talking, singing, or playing an musical instrument. This bothersome sound is referred as the “occlusion effect.”
Custom-fit ear plugs are shaped to the ear, creating a deep seal that prevents this distracting sound.
3. Price & convenience
Custom ear plugs can last up to four years, normally at a price of well under $100.
Let’s do some math 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 cash in the long run and will prevent all of those journeys to the store. No one likes buying ear plugs, so while the first visit to the audiologist seems like a pain, 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 each year.
Schedule an appointment and give protection to your ears
The 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 attend loud live shows or sporting events, schedule an appointment with a hearing professional today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also conserve the quality of sound.