85 decibels. That’s the noise intensity at which repetitive exposure can bring about serious hearing damage.
100 decibels. that is the sound degree hit by a rock show, which is not-so-good news for musicians or concert goers.
It’s also a component of a bigger problem: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as much as 30 million individuals in the U.S. are subjected to to damaging sound volumes, representing one of the foremost occupational dangers over the prior 25 years.
And performers aren’t the only ones at risk; here are some of the decibel levels linked with standard 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. music players, manufacturing plant workers, construction workers, airport staff, emergency personnel, plumbers, and craftsmen are all at risk of developing major hearing loss and tinnitus.
Occupational hearing loss affects tens of thousands
Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England knows all too well about the work-related hazards of sound. Twigg worked on analyzing and fixing law enforcement car sirens — which achieve between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
After retirement, Twigg started to experience intense tinnitus in addition to significant hearing loss that necessitated the use of hearing aids. Having failed to take the preventative measures that would minimize the noise levels, Twigg’s employer was found liable in court, losing a case in which Twigg would win 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 instances of work-related hearing loss reported.
How to protect your ears at work
So here’s the problem: the world needs music players, carpenters, and emergency and construction workers, but you cannot make power saws and police sirens any quieter.
The remedy? lessen the intensity of noise that comes in through your ear. straightforward, right? Well…not so fast.
You could just travel to the neighborhood store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but as it turns out, there is a much more advantageous alternative.
The best method requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, sometimes referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing practitioner can tailor specifically to you, your profession, and your preferences.
4 reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are superior than the off-the-shelf foam variety
Here are four reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are superior to foam ear plugs.
1. Preservation of sound quality
Standard foam ear plugs mute speech and music. By lessening 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 decrease sound by 30-40 decibels, which is unnecessary for the deterrence of hearing injury.
Custom-fit ear plugs will minimize sound more uniformly across frequencies while decreasing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby preserving the organic quality of speech and music.
2. Prevention of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the user will perceive a hollow or boomy sound in their voice when speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. This annoying sound is known 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, ordinarily 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 money in the long run and will avoid all of those trips to the store. No one looks forward to shopping for ear plugs, so while the first visit to the audiologist seems like a burden, in the long run you will also conserve time.
4. Preserving the Environment
Throw-away ear plugs build up 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 many advantages of custom-fit ear plugs speak for themselves.
If you work in a job that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you attend deafening concerts or sporting events, schedule an appointment with a hearing expert today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also maintain the high quality of sound.