It’s time you started to preserve your quality of hearing by getting custom-fit ear plugs. If you work in a occupation that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you participate in booming shows or sporting events, schedule an appointment with a hearing consultant today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also maintain the quality of sound.

Check out these little-known facts:
The sound measure at which repeated exposure can result in severe hearing damage: 85 decibels. The sound level hit by a rock concert, which is not-so-good news for musicians or show goers: 100 decibels. With 30 million people in the U.S. exposed to unsafe noise levels, this illustrates one of the top work-related threats over the previous 25 years, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Don’t think it’s just performers who are the ones at risk. Following are some of the decibel levels that come with normal work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newspaper press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting event 105, and a aircraft takeoff 150. music players, manufacturing plant workers, construction workers, airport personnel, emergency personnel, plumbers, and craftsmen are all at risk of developing extreme hearing loss and tinnitus.

Work-related hearing loss affects thousands

This story plays out time and time again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2009 there were 21,000 occurrences of occupational hearing loss reported. Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England knows all about the work-related risks of noise. He in fact worked on screening and fixing police car sirens — which reach between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.

After retiring, Twigg started to experience severe tinnitus in addition to substantial hearing loss that required the use of hearing aids. Twigg’s employer was found responsible in court, losing a case in which Twigg would win a considerable settlement – all because he failed to take on the protective methods that would bring down the noise levels.

How to protect your ears at work

While you can’t always reduce the noise at work, you can reduce the amount of noise that hits your ear drum. You could just drive to the local store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but as it turns out, there is a much more advantageous alternative. The preferred method requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, often times referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing practitioner can tailor specifically to you, your occupation, and your preferences.

Why are custom-fit ear plugs better than the cheap foam kind?

There are several reasons:

1. Prevention of the “Occlusion Effect”
With foam ear plugs, the wearer will perceive a hollow sound in their voice when speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. This bothersome sound is known as the “occlusion effect.” Custom-fit ear plugs are shaped to the ear, forming a deep seal that helps prevent this distracting sound.

2. Preservation of sound quality
Basic foam ear plugs mute speech and music. By suppressing noise mostly 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 diminish sound by 30-40 decibels, which is not needed for the deterrence of hearing injury.

Custom-fit ear plugs will lower sound more consistently across frequencies while lessening sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby maintaining the natural quality of speech and music.

3. Preserving the environment
Throw-away ear plugs are very wasteful:
5 days per week X 52 weeks per year = 260 pairs of foam ear plugs tossed out each year. It’s easier than you think to prevent work-related hearing loss. All you have to do is get custom ear plugs instead of the garden variety.

4. cost & convenience
Custom ear plugs can last up to four years, ordinarily at a price tag of well below $100.
Let’s do some calculations 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 journeys to the store. No one enjoys purchasing ear plugs, so while the initial visit to the audiologist seems like a pain, you will appreciate the fact later that you went.

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