85 decibels. That’s the noise measure at which repetitive exposure can trigger serious hearing damage.
100 decibels. that is the sound measure hit by a rock show, which is not-so-good news for musicians or concert goers.
It’s also part of a bigger problem: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), around 30 million individuals in the U.S. are subjected to damaging sound volumes, representing one of the top work-related risks over the past 25 years.
And performers aren’t the only ones at risk; here are some of the decibel volumes associated with normal work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newsprint press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting event 105, and a jet plane takeoff 150. Musicians, factory workers, construction workers, airport staff, emergency staff, plumbers, and craftsmen are all at risk of developing extreme hearing loss and tinnitus.
Work-related hearing loss affects thousands
Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England knows all too well about the occupational dangers of loudness. Twigg worked on analyzing and correcting police car sirens — which get to between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
After retiring, Twigg began to suffer intense tinnitus in addition to significant hearing loss that obligated the usage of hearing aids. Having failed to take the defensive methods that would minimize the sound levels, Twigg’s employer was found accountable in court, losing a case in which Twigg would attain a considerable settlement.
This is a scenario that is all too familiar: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 alone there were 21,000 cases of occupational hearing loss documented.
How to protect your ears at work
So here’s the problem: the world requires music players, carpenters, and emergency and construction staff, but you cannot make power saws and police sirens any quieter.
The answer? lessen the intensity of noise that makes its way into your ear. straightforward, right? Well…not so fast.
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 advantageous alternative.
The most effective solution requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, often referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing expert can personalize specifically to you, your job, and your needs.
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 far superior to foam ear plugs.
- maintenance of sound quality
Customary foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By decreasing sound principally in the high frequency range, rather than in the mid-to-low frequency range, music and voices sound unnatural and indecipherable. Foam ear plugs also decrease sound by 30-40 decibels, which is excessive for the deterrence of hearing damage.
Custom-fit ear plugs will decrease sound more evenly across frequencies while reducing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby preserving the all natural character of speech and music.
- avoidance of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the wearer will experience a hollowed out or boomy sound in their speech when speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. This frustrating noise is referred as the “occlusion effect.”
Custom-fit ear plugs are molded to the ear, generating a deep seal that helps prevent this distracting sound.
- cost & convenience
Custom ear plugs can keep working up to four years, usually at a cost of well below $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 save cash in the long run and will avoid all of those drives to the store. No one looks forward to picking out ear plugs, so while the initial visit to the audiologist seems like a pain, in the long run you will also conserve time.
- protecting 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 tossed out each year.
Schedule a consultation and give protection to your ears
The benefits of custom-fit ear plugs speak for themselves.
If you work in a occupation that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you participate in noisy live shows 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 maintain the high quality of sound.