Monthly Archives: May 2016

Can allergies play a role in hearing loss?

May 27, 2016

Can allergies play a role in hearing loss?

You are suddenly concerned that you have ringing in the ears or sounds appear more distant. You are asking people to repeat themselves and turning up the volume on your TV because you just can’t hear as well. Could these be symptoms of hearing loss? Yes, absolutely! Should you be concerned? Yes, absolutely! Are these signs of permanent hearing loss? No – not necessarily – they could be signs of either seasonal or perennial allergies!


You may have temporary hearing loss due to symptoms of allergies affecting your inner ear.

In the U.S. it is estimated that one in five people either have allergy or asthma symptoms. The number of people with chronic allergy-like symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and cough but actually have non-allergic rhinitis instead is one out of three. 

Allergies rank 5th in leading chronic diseases in the U.S.  

Seasonal Allergies have their affect on people normally in spring, summer or early fall. Most often they are caused by sensitivity to pollens from either trees, grasses, weeds or airborne mold spores. allergy-grass-pollen

Perennial allergies affect people year round and usually are because of sensitivity to something a person is constantly being exposed to such as dust mites, mold spores or animal dander from cats, dogs or rodents.

Another cause of allergies could be a reaction to certain substances or clothing. Some people using hearing aids or hearing protection devices can actually react to the material the device is made from. Other concerns from HPD’s could be improperly fitted or improperly vented devices causing a build up of pressure or moisture in the ear. The dB Blockers™ HPD’s from CPE are fitted to each employee exactly – eliminating ear pressure. They are also composed of SkinSoft™ a hypoallergenic, non-flammable silicone blend of material.

How do allergy symptoms affect hearing loss? 

When you are exposed to an allergen your bodies natural defence system kicks in. Your immune system responds to allergens by producing antibodies that release histamine as a way to fight off foreign invaders. The release of histamine produces several reactions.

  • Inflammation – caused by the widening or swelling of the blood vessels to increase the blood flow to the area affected to speed up the healing process. This can cause nasal or earallergy1 canal congestion.
  • Fluid escaping from capillaries into surrounding tissue which most often shows as a runny nose and watery eyes and possibly excess fluid in the inner ear.
  • Mucous production to line and protect the area affected.
  • Constriction of smooth muscle such as the smooth muscle around the bronchi of the lungs. – making it harder to breathe.
  • Itch perception and skin rash – be cautious of using anything introduced into the ear such as cotton swabs.

These reactions can all cause discomfort and possible hearing loss for the duration of the exposure to the allergen.

How does the ear respond? 

The ear is divided into 3 distinct sections, inner, middle and outer. The allergy responses mostly affect the middle ear. The Eustachian tube which acts as a drainage tube and pressure release valve can become swollen. As well fluid or mucous can also build up, creating two concerns. One is a smaller drainage area and the second is the clogging of the drainage area.

This can lead to increased pressure with resulting discomfort or pain and less ability for the inner ear to transfer the sound waves necessary for hearing. It also can cause dizziness or light headedness. The combination of swelling and increased fluid can also promote a good breading ground for infection to begin which could lead to permanent damage.

What can you do to help prevent hearing loss?

Even if hearing loss caused by allergies is temporary this can be devastating to a child learning to speak. They may miss out on critical learning periods. To an adult this can lead to work place concerns of missed work or inability to hear properly on the job which could result in safety concerns or inability to understand directives given.

Having a full assessment by a qualified Audiologist is of high importance to access the extent of hearing loss and also rule out any other causes. Limiting exposure to known allergens or improving overall health to help the body handle exposures can all be positive steps to take. During acute allergic responses particularly if for longer durations of impaired hearing the hearing solution may be through the use of devices to aid in your hearing.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.01.50 PMThe dB Blocker™ Classic Intercanal Vented hearing protection device by CPE PEUS may be an answer to those who need to improve hearing. Vented Intercanals were designed for persons who need to converse and work in and out of noise. This hearing protector (earplug) enhances conversation with other workers in a noisy workplace and could be used to enhance hearing with the inner ear concerns of allergy responses.  Click Here to Learn more: 

Monster Truck Jam is on! How much noise can you handle?

May 18, 2016

Monster Truck Jam is on! How much noise can you handle?

You grab your tickets, pack up the lunch and snacks, hustle the kids out the dMonster Truckoor and head out to the Monster Truck Jam, but wait… what’s missing? What about packing the hearing protection?

Entering an extremely loud noise environment can not only wreck your whole day (kids covering their ears, crying and wanting to escape the noise and begging to leave early) but also negatively impact anyone’s (yours included) hearing.

The WHO (World Health Organization) states on their website that “half o
f all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention”. They go on to state that acquired causes that may lead to hearing loss at any age can be from “excessive noise, including occupational noise such as that from machinery and explosions, and recreational noise such as that from personal audio devices, concerts, nightclubs, bars and sporting events”.

So how much noise is too much noise and how long an exposure can be too much exposure?

How can we judge for ourselves when the noise level and length of exposure could be damaging to our hearing? Studies tell us that noise levels higher than 85dBA (in a measurement unit called the A-weighted decibel (dBA)), have been shown to be a cause for concern of noise induced hearing loss. Statistics from Health Canada – Noise induced hearing Loss site are very alarming. Can you relate to being in any of these noise situations?

Due to the noise around you: Means the sound levels are probably: Means you’re at significant risk of permanent hearing loss if exposed daily for:
someone standing a metre away has to shout to be understood higher than 85 dBA 8 hours or more
someone standing 30 cm away has to shout to be understood higher than 95 dBA 45 minutes or more
someone has to shout into your ear to be understood higher than 105 dBA 5 minutes or more

In as little as 5 minutes you can be at significant risk of permanent hearing loss!

Health Canada goes on to warn that: “The sounds around you may also pose a risk of gradual, noise-induced hearing loss if you experience either of these signs after a loud noise has stopped:”

  • a temporary hearing loss – sounds seem muffled, quieter or less clear
  • tinnitus – a ringing, buzzing, roaring or rushing sound in the ear, which has no source outside the ear”

So, maybe you won’t take the kids to the Monster Truck Jam but what other activities can expose you, your family and friends to sound levels above the 85dBA range? Some everyday activities such as:

  • mowing the lawn, using a weed eater, table saw, chain saw or other loud mechanical device
  • even driving a car on the highway with the windows open can be a source of concern.

Add up some of the noise levels you are exposed to that would be considered above the 85 dBA level and how long you are exposed to them. This will have a cumulative effect on your hearing over time.

How can you protect your hearing?

Part of the suggested preventative measures from the WHO include: “reducing exposure (both occupational and recreational) to loud sounds by raising awareness about the risks; developing and enforcing relevant legislation; and encouraging individuals to use personal protective devices such as earplugs and noise-cancelling earphones and headphones”.

Ear plugs, ear muffs and headsets can all offer some forms of mechanical protection. They are not all created with equal protection and some may protect but also exclude your ability to hear conversations or low level noise that you want or need to hear.

The dB Blocker™ Classic (Vented) from CPE is an example of how you can have your fun and protect against devastating hearing loss. Not only can you enjoy your noise filled event but with this model of hearing protection you can actually communicate better than without them! No more shouting in someone’s ear to be heard. The unique proprietary frequency-tuned filter enhances interpersonal communication. No excuses that your kids can’t hear you any more J.

So remember your hearing protection devices when you head into your noise filled fun activities.

Health Canada


Fort McMurray – A State of Emergency

May 6, 2016

Please help Fort McMurray – A State of Emergency

Custom Protect Ear is appealing to our employees, their families and their friends to support our fund raising efforts to help those devastated by the wild fires raging in northern Alberta. Not only is it a state of emergency – but a national disaster. Reports continue to come in speaking of the thousands and thousands of Canadians who have lost everything in the uncontrolled wild fires attacking Fort McMurray and the surrounding areas. Unspoken tallies on homes, businesses and emergency services have been severely damaged while residents are escaping with only the shirts on their backs.

We are raising money through The Red Cross to help in whatever way possible to ease some of the burden this destruction has already caused and is continuing to cause. For every dollar donated by the Custom Protect Family we will see to it that each dollar multiplies up to six times to help those of our fellow Canadians in need — one dollar donated equals $6 delivered.

Did you know that your private donation to the Red Cross will be matched by the Alberta government, and the federal government will match all private donations made to the Red Cross to help the thousands of people who have been displaced by the wildfires in the Fort McMurray area?

Your $1 will grow 4 times. Get creative and raise some dollars for our fellow

Canadians in need.

Click Here to Donate

Please join us – Your contribution will make a difference.

Howard Raphael
President & CEO
Custom Protect Ear