It is easy to think that the only way that you can damage your hearing is by attending a rock concert. However, repeated exposure to any type of loud noise has the potential to damage your hearing. Having adequate hearing protection in the form of earplugs will decrease the likelihood of noise induced hearing loss.
The earplugs people are most familiar with are the foam earplugs that you can find off the shelf at the chemist or supermarket. These conventional earplugs provide a flat 30 to 40 decibel attenuation of sound across the frequency range. While these are effective at reducing the volume of the sound entering the ear, they are not ideal for enjoying music or for situations where you need to hear somebody speaking. Conventional earplugs cause everything to sound muffled because they reduce the volume of high frequency sounds more than the low and mid frequency sounds, which makes speech unclear and affects the sound quality of music. Also, not every situation requires this much sound attenuation.
Musician’s earplugs have a special filter in them and are custom made from an impression of the ear. A deep impression is taken to minimise occlusion – the boomy, echoey sensation, particularly of your own voice, that happens when the ears are blocked. The filter was designed to replicate how the ear canal shapes sound entering the ear. The ear canal naturally amplifies different frequencies of sound and this occurs most for high frequency sounds, which is around 2-4 kHz for adults. By providing different levels of attenuation for different frequencies, the filter in musician’s earplugs allows sound quality to be preserved, but heard at a softer and safer level. There is a choice of filters with different levels of attenuation and the filter selected will be based on the situations where you will use the earplugs.
Although these earplugs are called musician’s earplugs, they are not just for musicians or for people who attend music events. Anybody who is exposed to loud noise for a prolonged period of time will benefit from musician’s earplugs. People who work as a dentist, gardener or childcare educator for example who need to be able to hear conversation while protecting their ears from loud noise in the workplace should consider being fitted with musician’s earplugs.
Musician’s earplugs are available at all of our clinics.