Custom Earplugs and Hearing Protection to Prevent Damage to Your Ears

Hearing loss is irreversible, but, in many cases, it is preventable.

Exposure to loud noise without some way of protecting your ears puts you at greater risk for hearing loss, but with custom hearing protection you can continue hearing your best for as long as possible.

Among the common causes of permanent hearing loss for individuals under the age of 65 is noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), which involves frequent or ongoing exposure to sounds with an intensity level over 85 decibels (the sound of an idling bulldozer or normal conversation) for an extended period of time, or exposure to a single extreme noise event, like an explosion (210 dB+).

Thankfully, Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates provide custom earplugs and hearing protection to prevent damage to your ears and reduce your risk of developing NIHL.

Industry worker wearing a custom hearing protection at work

Great people. Good, knowledgeable and helpful. Best audiologists I’ve ever been to.

- Debbie B.

So awesome. Very informative and patient with my husband.

- Dawn C.

I love Erika. She is so nice and thorough and explains everything and answers any questions. I have never felt rushed by her!

- G Elli

How Loud Is Too Loud?

Man working in a noisy environment wearing ear muffs

At 85 decibels (dB) of sound intensity, your ears are safe from damage for up to 8 hours without any form of protection. But as the length of time increases, your ears ability to endure sounds exceeding 85 dB without hearing protection decreases significantly, with each increase of 3 dB of intensity.

For example, it only requires four hours of exposure to 88 dB to begin to cause damage, while damage occurs after 2 hours at 91 dB, and within 1 hour of exposure at 94 dB. If your unprotected ears are exposed to sounds in excess of 110 dB for more than 90 seconds, your ears experience severe damage, but it takes only 7 seconds to do harm to your unprotected ears at intensity levels of 120 dB.

To better understand your risk of NIHL without hearing protection, it is necessary to recognize that lawn equipment, chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and power tools have noise levels of between 90 and 105 dB, meaning that unprotected exposure for more than 20 or 30 minutes can cause damage to your hearing.

Taking things further, listening to music on headphones or earbuds at high levels (110 to 115 dB) for more than a few seconds is particularly dangerous, as are major sporting events, live concerts, or nightclubs, which often reach levels of up to 135 dB, while discharging a firearm will have an intensity level in excess of 145 dB, causing instant, permanent damage.

Stopping that damage involves the use of hearing protection while you are engaged in these various activities for enjoyment or while working.

Benefits Of Custom Hearing Protection

Custom hearing protection is a valuable part of providing your ears with the protection they need because it makes use of custom molded earplugs that conform to the unique contours of your ears.

Among the advantages of custom molded earplugs are a more secure fit, a greater level of comfort, and greater assurance that your hearing protection stays in place during whatever activity you’re involved in.

Each type of hearing protection device provides additional benefits specifically related to their use, like:

  • Accurate frequency response, allowing you to hear a full range of sounds, but at a reduced volume.
  • Venting, which involves letting sound to pass both ways, so your voice won’t reverberate inside your ears.
  • Precision-engineered filters provide measurable protection with clearer, more natural sound.
  • Medical-grade silicone construction allows you to wear them for extended periods of time without irritation or discomfort.
  • Replaceable sound filters allow you to select the level of sound protection you need for a variety of activities and situations.
Young girl working in a factory wearing hearing protection device

Custom Hearing Protection Products Available from Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates

No matter whether you’re exposed to noise at work, during recreational sports, or at concerts and clubs, you risk damage to your hearing and permanent noise induced hearing loss if you leave your ears unprotected.

Your lifestyle and the activities you take part in will determine the type of hearing protection you will need to safely enjoy your various activities without damaging your hearing.

We offer a variety of hearing protection types and styles to fit the unique hearing protection requirements for each of the activities you take part in, including:

  • Custom molded protection for shooting and hunting
  • Custom ear protection for use with construction and industrial equipment
  • Custom ear protection while using lawn and garden tools, chainsaws, motorcycles, and snowmobiles
  • Custom molded earplugs for concerts and sporting events
  • Custom earbuds for musicians and for listening to music through your personal player
  • Custom molded earplugs for swimmers (to prevent “swimmer’s ear”, not related to NIHL)

We work with several manufacturers to provide the highest quality of hearing protection, including:

#1 – Starkey SoundGear

SoundGear products provide hearing protection solutions that are perfect for everyday use, such as hunting, competitive shooting, law enforcement, construction, fitness, traveling, concerts, mechanics, and much more.

Custom and instant fit electronic solution as well as non-electronic custom fit earplugs are available from Starkey, a global hearing aid manufacturer.

#2 – TLS Sound Labs

Duckdive ear plugs for swimmers and those who enjoy water sports are among the products available from TLS Sound Labs. Sleep earplugs, earplugs for maximum protection, and earplugs for musicians, along with dynamic filters and etymotic musician filters are also among the hearing protection solutions available.

#3 – Westone Hearing Protection

A favorite among those in the military, Westone provides both electronic and non-electronic solutions in headset and custom molded earplugs for those who use firearms, as well as hearing protection for musicians.

#4 – Serenity Choice

We also work with hearing aid manufacturer, Phonak, who produces a line of custom hearing protection for musicians, hunters and shooters, motorsports, work, and sleep.

Learn More About Custom Hearing Protection

Your ability to hear better for as long as possible while continuing to enjoy an active and independent lifestyle depends on how well you take care of your ears. Protecting your ears from noise-induced hearing loss ensures that you can avoid ongoing hearing challenges brought on by work, recreational activities, and lifestyle choices.

Hearing protection provided by Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates makes it possible to protect your ears with custom earplugs and hearing protection. To learn more about the solutions we have available, complete and submit the adjacent form so one of our hearing protection experts can help you.

FREE DOWNLOAD: HOW TO ENCOURAGE A STUBBORN MAN TO GET HIS HEARING TESTED

With hearing loss impacting 1 in 5 of us, the data suggests that at least one special person in our lives are struggling with hearing loss. The challenge is that it's often difficult for these people to admit that they have a challenge with their hearing or be open to seeking help.

That's why we have developed a free white-paper to help you to understand the different ways that you can support a loved one and encourage them to get the help that they need.

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The risk of noise-induced hearing loss is something that should be taken seriously and prevented at all costs.

Erika’s Story

I’m Erika. I love learning about new technology, particularly with technology designed to help people hear and connect to their families, friends and community. I first learned about the Jabra Enhance Plus 18 months ago in a tech talk related to OTC hearing aids. OTC stands for “over-the-counter”; this was driven by the PCAST report (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) that was published in 2016 and was rejuvenated by Biden’s Executive to the FDA to develop regulations and labeling on a new classification of non-prescription hearing aids that would be available to purchase by consumers without professional engagement.

The purpose was to introduce lower cost entry to hearing aids for consumers. This is opening a whole new pipeline of devices from manufacturers of consumer electronics to manufacturers of medical devices to get into the lucrative market of entry level amplification. Bose had launched their new “hearing aid” which was a terrible flop, it didn’t have rechargeability, it had a ton of feedback (whistling), it didn’t even have basic streaming features. Signia launched a product, Apple Air pods added transparency mode and developed an app to “test” your hearing to apply mild gain to your Air Pod Pros, and Resound’s research team partnered with GN’s consumer electronic group that makes Jabra products to develop a hybrid hearing aid/consumer electronic sometimes referred to as a Hearable, PSAP (Personal Sound Amplifier), or and OTC hearing aid. Other companies have come out with products that they are marketing as hearing aids, the FDA has been playing whack-a-mole with these illegally labeled products. Whatever you may call the widget, it is an electronic device that is not programmed by a licensed hearing health care professional.

I was awarded a slot to participate in a pilot project to evaluate the Jabra Enhance Plus product before it was released commercially to the public. I have been wearing the device for the last 10 days. I have about 4 pages of feedback for the developers for the app and also the device itself. Here is my pro/con list.

Pros: The size and fit. It doesn’t look anything like a hearing aid, it is like a small button Bluetooth or wireless earbud. There is nothing hanging out of the ear to catch on masks. The green, faded yellow and red indicator lights on the device and the charger are intuitive ways to alert to battery life. The little charging case holds a charge even when it is not plugged in. It is easily portable, fits great in a pocket of my purse so I have them with me. The streaming is pretty seamless. The app controls are deceivingly simple, it seems like there should be more, but it is really just the volume up and down. They were a lot more comfortable to wear while reclining and listening to streaming audio than other wireless earbuds that I have used. It was easy to switch to a call while streaming. They enhanced listening when I was watching TV.

Cons: The built-in personalization didn’t seem to customize the sound; The filter setting was something that I wanted to change frequently, but it is a buried feature in the app. The fit was sort of uncomfortable in one ear and the selection of domes were not adequate. The occlusion effect for my own body noises was significant. My voice sounded too far away for people on the other end of the phone call. The sound quality for phone calls and streaming audio was inferior to other wireless earbuds that I use. I struggled in noisy situations to hear other people over my own body sounds. They move a lot in my ears with talking. They don’t connect to my computer, so going between zoom meetings and phone calls or other activities was cumbersome and I have to switch devices.
My overall assessment is that there is a place in the consumer electronic world for these cute little hearing enhancers, but they will not yet replace my wireless earbuds. I look forward to future software updates that will hopefully improve and expand usability (like connecting to my PC for zoom calls).

Tom’s Story

Tom was not as happy as Donna after his 10 days with the devices. He much preferred his own hearing aids. He did like that his mask never got caught on them. His biggest issue was that he got whistling from them when he turned them up loud enough for him to hear the TV. He did enjoy the streaming capabilities. He struggled the most with pairing the devices, which may have been because he used his Bluetooth a lot for other things and the Jabra devices did not seem to respond well to intermittent connectivity.

Donna’s Story

Donna wore the devices for 10-12 hours everyday for ten days. She loved how much better she heard in group settings and in conversations with friends and family.

She mentioned that after a long day she did notice that her ears would get a little sore and she thought maybe a smaller prescription hearing aid would be better for her long term, but she thought these self fitting hearing aids were great and easy to use. She would definitely consider buying them and even had several of her friends ask where they could buy them.

Linda’s Story

Linda wore the Jabra Enhance Plus 5-6 hours a day. Mostly while watching TV. She loved how much easier it was to hear the dialogue on TV. She also enjoyed hearing her husband more easily while they were having conversations. She had little difficulty connecting the devices to her app, the most difficult part of the connection that Linda had was remembering her apple password. She was really impressed with the product and the price.

Beth Story

Beth wears the Jabra Enhance Plus about an hour a day, primarily for streaming while exercising. She loves the quality of the streaming for phone calls and listening to audio books. She tried the devices in a restaurant with friends, but really struggled to adapt to her own voice and thought that it was actually harder to focus on the voices she wanted to hear over some of the other environment sounds being amplified. She really didn’t find them helpful in the classroom like she had hoped, but she admitted that only tried them once in that setting.

Jan’s Story

I'm Jan. I have enjoyed being part of this new technology. After day two I did experience right ear canal discomfort and was not able to wear the device for a few days. I feel if the device was a little bit smaller it would be more comfortable for me.

I felt muffled and my own voice was hollow. After a few days I didn't notice it as much. I am not totally comfortable with new technology but found the setup for Jabra to be easy. The charging was easy, and the hearing test was relatively easy. I have normal hearing, therefore did not experience a lot of amplification. I found the app was user friendly. I would recommend them to someone who had a mild to moderate hearing loss that could not afford hearing aids.