Protection of your ears at work is of paramount importance. While we can’t get by without musicians, contractors, and emergency and construction workers, we can’t make power saws and law enforcement sirens any quieter. What can be done? Some say we should decrease the level of noise that makes its way into our ears.
The ideal method requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, sometimes referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing consultant can tailor specifically to you, your job, and your needs.
Sure, you could simply just travel to the community store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but as it turns out, there is a much more attractive alternative.
Did you know that 85 decibels is the noise intensity at which repetitive exposure can cause significant hearing damage?
Did you know that 100 decibels is the sound degree reached by a rock concert? Bad news for anyone who plays in a band or who likes to go see one.
There’s a bigger problem at play here. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says an amazing 30 million people in the U.S. are subjected to dangerous sound levels, representing one of the biggest occupational threats over the previous 25 years.
Everyday work-related activities have high decibel levels attached to them, too. For example, a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newspaper press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting event 105, and a jet takeoff 150. Musicians, production line workers, construction workers, airport staff, emergency workers, plumbers, and craftsmen are all likely to develop extreme hearing loss and tinnitus.
Work-related hearing loss impacts countless numbers
Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England understands all too well about the occupational hazards of loudness. That’s because he worked on evaluating and repairing law enforcement car sirens — which get to between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
After retirement, severe tinnitus set in along with severe hearing loss that mandated the use of hearing aids. Having failed to adopt the safety actions that would alleviate the noise levels, Twigg’s employer was found liable in court, losing a case in which Twigg would gain a large settlement.
This is a story we’ve seen time and time again. In 2009 alone, there were 21,000 incidents of occupational hearing loss reported.
4 reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are considerably better than the off-the-shelf foam variety
Why are custom-fit ear plugs are superior to foam ear plugs? Let’s explore the reasons.
1. Conservation of sound quality
Common foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By reducing noise mainly 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 excessive for the prevention of hearing damage.
Custom-fit ear plugs will minimize sound more evenly across frequencies while lowering sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby maintaining the all natural quality 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 voice when speaking, singing, or playing an musical instrument. This bothersome noise 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. Price & convenience
Custom ear plugs can last up to four years, almost always at a price tag of well under $100.
Let’s do some math 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 avert all of those outings to the store. No one likes shopping for ear plugs, so while the initial visit to the audiologist seems like a pain, in the long run you will also conserve time.
4. preserving the environment
Throw-away ear plugs produce a lot of waste:
5 days per week X 52 weeks per year = 260 pairs of foam ear plugs tossed out every single year.
Schedule an appointment and protect your ears
The benefits of custom-fit ear plugs are a no-brainer. This is especially so if you work in an industry that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you attend noisy shows or sporting events. In this case, be sure to schedule a consultation with a hearing expert today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears and keep up with the high quality of sound.