Custom Ear Protection in Tampa and Spring Hill, FL
Hearing loss happens for a number of reasons, but the most common is sudden or long-term exposure to high noise levels, such as what occurs at a music concert or industrial work environment. Unfortunately, hearing loss that results from prolonged exposure to noise is often not discovered early enough to reverse the problem. The board-certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeons at Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists recommend custom ear protection for those living in Tampa, Spring Hill and surrounding areas of Florida who are at risk for hearing loss due to environmental factors.
Earmolds And Earplugs
Hearing loss is a risk for people working in many industries, including airplane pilots, musicians, medical professionals and factory workers. It can also affect those who engage in loud activities such as motorcycle riding and target shooting. In any of these scenarios, using hearing protection can make all the difference in preventing hearing loss.
Continuous subjection to certain loud noises can pose a significant risk to your hearing. Sounds emitted from lawn mowers, motorcycles, truck engines, chain saws, gun shots — even a night out at a rock concert could be dangerous to your hearing.
While the ear plugs found in many retail stores provide some hearing protection, custom earplugs and earmolds are the way to go if you’re looking for maximum protection. Custom earplugs and earmolds are also more comfortable to wear because they are designed to fit your ears.
Earmolds are available in a range of types and textures. Some have a solid feel while others have a softer, more pliable quality. Basic styles consist of either full or half shell earmolds. The full shell is a common choice for people who are exposed to high noise levels while the half shell styles offer protection from mid-level noise. Your audiologist can advise you about which type of earmold could be most suitable for you.
Some earmolds are equipped with filtered attenuators, which provide hearing protection without hindering the user’s ability to hear verbal communications. Among those who tend to choose this type of earmold are musicians. These earmolds are available in either electronic or non-electronic varieties. Many people opt to use earmolds because they fit over some kinds of earbud headphones, and can be worn beneath communications equipment such as “boom mic” headsets utilized by pilots.
Custom earmolds are crafted to fit the unique shape of your ear. If you find traditional earplugs are uncomfortable, custom earmolds could be a suitable option for you. They offer maximum hearing protection, and they’re much more comfortable to wear.
Earplugs also safeguard the hearing, and they are usually worn in the ear canal. They can have a solid feel or a softer texture, which permits some sounds to be heard. Medical personnel and musicians often benefit from the use of special earplugs that still allow them hear what is happening in their environment.
Custom earplugs are fitted to your ear canal and are available with or without detachable cords or handles, depending on your needs.
Earplugs and earmolds can be worn for reasons other than high-level noise protection. Swimmers could also benefit from protecting their ears.
Patients who are recuperating from ear surgery or infection, and people living with chronic ear conditions, must keep their ear canals dry to avoid developing more serious problems. Swim earmolds keep moisture out of the ear canal while swimming or bathing. Swim earplugs also offer overall noise protection. They are available in several colors, they are buoyant, and they feature finger grips for trouble-free removal.
Your ability to hear is important, and you must take measures to protect your hearing so you can continue to benefit from it for years to come. Those who work in high-noise areas should have their hearing regularly checked so that early signs of hearing loss can be detected. Talk to your audiologist as soon as possible and find out what solution may be best for you.
Musician Earplugs And Monitors
Musicians have distinct hearing protection needs. They must safeguard their hearing, but they must also have the ability to hear their own music, as well as the music and vocals produced by other performers.
Store-bought earplugs can provide adequate hearing protection, but over-the-counter earplugs are usually not a good option for musicians. Retail earplugs muffle speech and dull other important sounds. Music and voices sound quite unclear to the user, and while conventional earplugs can diminish high frequencies, they offer more hearing protection than a musician would need.
In most cases, musicians do not require maximum hearing protection. Mid to low-level protection would better suit their needs. These levels of protection can be achieved by using earplugs that are customized for that specific use.
Musician earplugs are available in custom and non-custom models. You could opt for ready-fit earplugs, which decrease sound levels by about 20 dB, which is sufficient to reduce damaging noise without hindering your ability to hear music or speech.
These varieties of earplugs are deep so that the earmold can fit inside the bony part of an ear canal. This type of fit cuts down on “occlusion”, a term used to describe the hollow tone in a musician’s voice that can occur when using earplugs of a lesser quality. They are a top choice for musicians due to the higher quality of sound they can provide.
Musician earplugs also offer great hearing protection for a number of people, including:
- Truck drivers
- Industrial employees
- Construction crews
- Medical personnel
- Motorcycle riders
- Players with the National Football League
- Athletic coaches
- Airline employees
- People who attend concerts
- Band instructors
- Recording engineers
- Sounds crews
In-Ear Musician Monitors
For musicians who play before relatively large crowds, in-ear musician monitors (or IEMs) are the present-day standard for hearing protection in the music industry. Musicians who use IEMs are able to hear the music they produce very clearly while also safeguarding their ears from the loud noises coming from speakers, amplifiers, and the audience.
Custom-molded IEMs tend to work best, but musicians may also consider using a universal IEM as an alternative. Universal IEMs usually include several interchangeable tips, which allow the user to achieve a semi-custom fit.
A hearing specialist or an audiologist can custom fit both earmolds and in-ear monitors so that they will fit the unique size and shape of your ear.
The most important step in the process of creating a comfortable custom fit is the ear impression, which is used to craft the earmold or in-ear monitor. Everything from the technique used to create the impression to the quality of the materials used can affect sound quality, isolation and comfort that is accomplished with the finished earmold. For this reason, it is critical that you work with an experienced professional who is trained in producing impressions for musician’s earplugs.
Custom ear protection from Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists offers many benefits over ear plugs that are available in retail stores. Contact our Tampa or Spring Hill office to schedule a consultation with our audiologist to find out how custom-fit hearing protection can benefit you!