Hearing Protection Devices are specialized ear plugs or ear molds made by our audiologists to protect hearing while in a noisy environment. These serve to decrease the volume of sound impacting your cochlea and can help to reduce the effects of loud sounds. While they do help to protect your hearing, you are still at risk simply by being in a loud environment.
Custom-made Ear Plugs by Audiologists
Custom devices require an ear mold impression so that they fit the unique shape of your ear. A molding material is placed into the ear canal after it has been appropriately prepared by the audiologist. The molding material begins as soft putty, but quickly hardens into the shape of your ear canal. This mold is evaluated by the audiologist to ensure it is precise and free of air pockets, and then sent to the ear mold lab to create the exact device the patient has requested. These custom molds tend to be more comfortable, easier to place and more durable than non-custom devices.
Musician’s Ear Plugs
Most of the time, it is important to block as much sound as possible, but sometimes too much sound attenuation can be TOO much. Musician’s plugs have a specialized filter to offer a uniform reduction across all the frequencies. It is like turning down the volume of the music by either 15 or 25 decibels. This flat attenuation is important for musicians to maintain the volume relationship across different pitches. A musician’s performance can be affected if the plug blocks more high frequency sounds than low frequency because the musician can no longer hear the sounds as they are being presented to the listener.
Shooter’s Ear Plugs
This is also a situation where a lot of attenuation is required to protect the hearing apparatus but sometimes too much is bothersome. Shooter’s plugs offer a variety of attenuation for different types of hunting. Target practice or skeet shooting requires as much attenuation as possible. Generally, the shooter doesn’t speak to anyone during this time since repetitive shots are fired. Dove hunters require a different sort of plug since a lot of the time is spent conversing with others while you are waiting for the birds to fly in. This application is best served by a filtered plug which is open until the impact of the shot is detected and the filter closes off. The shooter can converse while the valve is open, but is protected once the valve is activated. Deer hunters generally prefer electronic plugs where the device actually amplifies environmental sounds until the shot is fired when it turns into protection. This allows the hunter to hear approaching game, but still be protected once the shooting begins.
Swimming Ear Plugs
This custom plug is designed to keep water out of the ear canal. It is a great option for individuals with surgically modified ear canals or for children with ear tubes. These plugs keep the ear canal dry and safe from lake water, pool water or shower/bath water.
Other Custom Ear Plug Uses
We can make a custom device for pretty much any application from motorcycling to snoring. Give us a call and see how we can meet your specific needs!
Audiologists, Mary Gamble and Denise E. Koehler and otolaryngologists, Dr. Rohn and Dr. Gamble of Otolaryngology Specialists of North Texas are highly experienced and uniquely qualified to identify a wide variety of pathology and underlying medical conditions of the hearing and balance systems. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our office, please call our Plano office at 972-378-0633 or Dallas office at 214-239-1641.