Protect Your Hearing
Cotton in your ears does not work to protect your hearing. Sounds like loud music, gunfire and machinery can damage your hearing at any age. People differ in their sensitivity to noise. As a general rule, noise can damage your hearing if you have to shout over background noise to make yourself heard, if the noise hurts your ears, if it makes your ears ring, or if you have difficulty hearing for several hours after exposure to the noise.
Hearing protection devices decrease the loudness of sound that reaches the eardrum. They come in two forms earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small inserts that fit into the outer ear canal. They must be snugly sealed so the entire circumference of the ear canal is blocked. An improperly fitted, dirty or worn-out plug may not seal and can irritate the ear canal. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit individual ear canals and can be custom made. Earmuffs fit over the entire outer ear to form an air seal so the entire circumference of the ear canal is blocked, and they are held in place by an adjustable band. Earmuffs will not seal around eyeglasses or long hair, and the adjustable headband tension must be sufficient to hold earmuffs firmly around the ear.
Properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. The better earplugs and muffs are approximately equal in sound reductions, although earplugs are better for low-pitched noise and earmuffs for high-pitched noise. Simultaneous use of earplugs and muffs usually adds 10 to 15dB more protection than either used alone. Combined use should be considered when noise exceeds 105 dB.
Musicians earplugs are a custom product, made individually for each user. They can be purchased only from licensed hearing professionals (audiologists and hearing instrument specialists). They are designed to replicate the natural response of the open ear. Sound heard with these earplugs has the same quality as the original, only quieter. The result is that speech and music are clear you still hear the blend clearly, feel the bass, and distinguish each tone.
Accurate sound reduction is achieved by combining a patented filter with the specific acoustics of a custom ear mold. The combination of the two produces a resonance at approximately 2700 Hz (as in the normal ear) resulting in a smooth, flat accentuation.
Your audiologist will take deep impressions of your ears and order the earplugs from one of the authorized ear mold laboratories. Musicians earplugs are custom ear molds with one set of filter buttons depending upon the source to which you are exposed (your choice of ER-9, ER-15 or ER-25). Your audiologist will assist you in making sure the musicians earplugs fit properly. It is sometimes necessary in the fitting process to modify or remake one or both ear molds to ensure comfort and optimum performance. Your audiologist is your best “hearing aide.”
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