Custom Hearing Protection from Hearing Guard in Queensland, Australia.
After 20 years in healthcare, there is one thing I have learned more than anything else, and that is prevention is better than the cure. Hearing health is no different and with the correctly made and fitted custom hearing protection, you can help prevent early onset Noise Induced Hearing Loss and the concomitant reduction in life expectancy. Yes, that’s correct, a Hearing Loss has been shown to reduce life expectancy.
My partner and I started this business in 2013, because after working for over 15 years in Audiology in the UK and Australia, I have realised that, while hearing aids are master pieces of technology, they can only achieve so much. Hearing aids only work with the hearing you have remaining, they do not give you your hearing back. Thus by preventing the damage that excessive noise can have on your hearing health, you can prolong your hearing to old age.
To really understand the importance of hearing protection you have to realise that our ears are complex and highly sensitive to noise exposure. Excess (above 85db SPL) loud noise can cause hearing damage over time, custom hearing protection can prevent this Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Custom Hearing Protection from Hearing Guard (0400 189 269 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ) is one of the best ways to protect your hearing from noise exposure. In fact, if you regularly spend time in environments where loud noise is common, you could be losing your hearing without even realising it.
NOISE EXPOSURE, INDUSTRIAL EAR PLUGS AND NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a consequence of damage to the hair cells of the hearing organ (cochlea) caused by noise exposure of higher than normal (conversational) levels of unwanted noise. This occurs due to force of impact on the hair cells by loud noise exposure which may cause temporary or permanent damage. Ringing of the ears is a common symptom of damage done to your hearing and can be caused by intense, sharp short sounds (e.g. hammering), or prolonged exposure to sounds above 85dB SPL (lawn mower, motorbike, heavy diesel engines, etc.). Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common form of hearing loss and can be prevented by using Hearing Guard Industrial ear plugs.
Typically Noise Induced Hearing Loss occurs in both ears, between 3,000 and 6,000 Hertz (Hz), (frequencies that are essential for understanding non vocalised speech cues) and develops gradually over time. NIHL results in a general inability to understand speech, especially in noisy situations. The extent of the damage and speed of onset of NIHL is dependent on a number of factors including length of noise exposure, loudness and proximity to sound.
Below is an example of the power of ones brain, and serves as an example of the importance of consonants (high frequency speech cues) to speech perception:
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Of course you can read this, the power of the human brain is phenomenal, and so is the power of the Auditory Cortex (AC) of the human brain. When your cochlea sends auditory information to your brain (right ear to Left AC, left ear to Right AC), the AC focusses on the primary source of language information, high frequency language cues. These high frequency language cues are the consonants of speech, in most words this is the first few and last letters. The vowel sounds (the middle of most words) need not be completely heard for a person to understand what is being said as the AC can fill in the gaps, especially if the context of the conversation is known.
So what happens if you have Noise Induced Hearing Loss? Almost all industrial related and age related hearing impairment is located in the higher frequencies of the audible range (from 2000 Hz onwards). If you look at the below photo, most of the consonants of speech are located in this range, thus people with “high frequency hearing loss” are not hearing the first and last letters of each word thus they struggle to understand speech. In quite situations such individuals can compensate for this by maximising all available visual and speech cues, however, put them in a noisy room and suddenly they can no longer hear the consonants of speech. This is because the information contained in high frequency speech cues do not travel very far, and are easily smeared, wiped away by any other background noise. The background noise doesn’t have to be much, a few people speaking, the TV on, or radio is all that is required to hinder speech understanding for a person with a high frequency hearing loss.
The solution to this issue of industrial/recreational hearing loss is to protect your hearing by use appropriately fitted and chosen hearing protection from Hearing Guard in all noisy situations.
Types of Industrial Ear Plugs for hearing protection
Disposable, Washable or Banded
The types of Hearing Protection available on the market include the following –
• Foam Ear Plugs – The least cost effective available and commonly used by those in the construction/mining industry.
• Rubber or Silicon Plugs – Rigid construction meaning they would not be suitable for everyone.
• Banded Ear Muffs – Hearing defence held in place with an Alice Band. These are very common but are generally uncomfortable in humid conditions and are not suitable when wearing a hard hat.
- A new type of earplug that are instant fit and suitable for 95% of the population is manufactured by Crescendo. These are made using a special hypoallergenic material but include an acoustic filter that not only aerates the ear canal, but also maintains full situational awareness. These type are fully washable and reusable, and importantly inexpensive when compared with foam, rubber or banded earplugs.
Custom manufactured Ear Moulds and washable instant fit Silicon Ear Plugs
Custom Ear Mould– Hearing Guard manufactures hypoallergenic silicone ear plugs customised to be specific to the users ear. The sound attenuation has been certified with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 28dB which meets or exceeds Australian and New Zealand standard AS/NZ 2070-2002. Further more, we can make and fit ear plugs customised to your needs in as little as 40 minutes. Hearing Guard custom hearing protection are designed to be worn whilst exposed to high intensity recreational or work place noise. Metal-detectable versions are available (traceable within food production lines and certain other manufacturing processes). Custom Hearing Protection ear plugs are available in range of colours.
Washable Silicon- Hearing Guard import the highest quality, ANSI and CE certified washable silicon hearing protection that is suitable for most ear types. They all have acoustic filters from Dynamic Ear Company which ensure full acoustic awareness while maximising attenuation of loud noise to acceptable levels. They are completely reusable, washable and the acoustic filter is replaceable. Their noise attenuation meets or exceeds Australian and New Zealand standard AS/NZ 2070-2002.
Digital Hearing Protection
Hearing Guard supply the SoundGear™ range of Instant fit or custom manufactured digital hearing protection. These products are manufactured by Starkey, one of the largest hearing aid manufactures in the world. Their sound platform produces some of the best hearing aids, and it is that technology which makes SoundGear™ the product of choice for the USA shooting/hunting, military and Tactical Police market.
The custom devices have full functionality with a volume control and digital customisation to suit ones hearing needs. Providing all day comfort and advanced acoustics, these are the product of choice for that professional edge.
Please remember that if you have a diagnosed hearing loss and or Tinnitus, then you still need to protect your hearing. Having a hearing loss does not protect your ears from the damaging effects of excessive noise. Intense sounds will do damage even if you have a pre existing loss. It is therefore important that you protect your hearing as much as a person with normal hearing.