Monthly Archives: June 2016

What is a decibel and how is it measured?

June 29, 2016

What is a Decibel?

The decibel (dB) is a unit used to express the energy in a sound wave.

How is a Decibel Measured?

The measurement of a decibel is a logarithmic scale measurement. Named in honour of Alexander Graham Bell and originally used to measure output along telegraph cables it expresses a ratio or comparison of two quantities. One decibel is one tenth of one bel and is the common reference name.

Measuring to Protect our Hearing.

Used for acoustic purposes or defining how loud a sound is to the human ear the dB expresses sound pressure level. This gives us an indication of what the human ear can tolerate or how sensitive our hearing is to certain levels of noise. Knowing the levels that the human ear can tolerate and how long it will take to cause damage allows us to take preventative measure to protect our hearing. Being able to measure the dB levels of equipment, vehicles, and sound producing objects gives us an advantage to know what we need to avoid or how long we are able to tolerate certain levels of noise.

Starting at the lowest level or the quietest thing that can be heard the decibel is expressed as 0 or 0dB. At levels over 85dB hearing loss or tinnitus can occur. At the pain level or very loud level the decibel is expressed as 120dB. Over 140dB can cause immediate and irreparable damage.

Noise level X exposure level

Being exposed to decibel levels below 80dB will rarely be a cause for hearing concerns. However, being exposed to higher level can definitely be concerning. The higher the level, the shorter the time exposure will be before noise induced damage will take effect. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests time frames for safety exposure.

  • At levels of 85dB hearing damage can occur after 8 hour exposure
  • At levels of 90dB hearing damage can occur after 2 hours of exposure
  • At levels of 94dB hearing damage can occur after 1 hours of exposure
  • At levels of 100dB hearing damage can occur within 15 min of exposure
  • Over 112 dB hearing damage can be immediate and permanent

To get an idea of what dB levels are for different noises and what effect they can have on your hearing see the chart below:

  • Normal Breathing 10 dBNIOSH Decibel readings

  • Normal conversation 50-65 dB

  • City traffic noise 80 dB

  • Lawn Mower 85-90 dB

  • Garbage Truck 100 dB

  • Jackhammer 110 dB

  • Stereo or headset 110 – 130 dB

  • Rock Concert 120-140 dB

What decibel levels are you exposed to? What length of time are you exposed to them for? Protect your hearing. Contact Us to learn how you can protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss due to noiseYou-want-to-lose-your-ears-

Can Your Profession be Causing Hearing Loss?

June 24, 2016

You love your work but does your work love your ears?

If you are involved in these professions you may be at increased risk for NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss).

  • Aviation – ground workers – factory workers – Within 25 meters of Jet take-off the noise level will reach 150 dB. That is loud enough to rupture eardrums. A Boeing 707 or DC-8 before landing is measured at 106 dB. A helicopter at 100 ft is 100 dB. Exposure to dB levels between 100 and 110 will lead to serious damage in as little as an 8 hours exposure
  • Construction Industry – jackhammers (100 – 120 dB), hand drill, belt sander or table saws (95-105 dB),air guns or pneumatic riveters at 125dB, compacting machines or sand blasting at (110 – 115 dB)
  • Dentistry – Dental office equipment can also be a source for concern with ultrasonic cleaners at 90 dB, ultrasonic scalers and stone mixers at 85 dB.
  • Emergency / First Aid Responders / Firefighters – 110 – 140 dB of noise is produced by Ambulance or Fire truck sirens causing immediate pain to humans and can also rupture eardrums.
  • Farming – equipment operators can be exposed to noise from tractors (75-110 dB), Combine machines (80-105dB), Crop dusting aircraft or Orchard spray at 85-115 dB). Animals at feeding time in enclosed spaces such as a pig shed at 105dB.
  • Factory – In industry settings, the noise levels can average up to 90-125dB. A textile loom at 103 dB, riveting metal at 130dB, electric and pneumatic tools along with industrial heaters, coolers and venting machines all add to the noise exposure in industrial settings over the 90 dB levels.
  • Forestry Industry – Logging – Mill Workers – a Chain saw is approximately 120 dB – a painful level to endure. Noise from idling trucks and log moving and sorting equipment can expose workers to levels far above safety levels.
Forestry Mill
  • Gardeners & Landscapers – leaf blowers, snow blowers, power mowers (85 to 100 dB), hedge clippers, weed eaters all in very close contact can be a worrisome downside of the job.
  • Garbage Truck Driver – Sanitation workers can be exposed to 85 – 100 dB of noise from their truck – enough to cause tinnitus or possible damage in an 8 hour exposure.
    Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.07.35 PM
  • Hunting or Target Shooting – A cap gun at 155 dB ,a 12 gauge shotgun blast at 160-165 dB or a .357 magnum revolver at 165 can all cause immediate and irreversible damage.
  • Military – An Aircraft carrier deck can reach 140 dB levels and a military jet aircraft take-off with afterburner can reach 130 dB both loud enough to cause immediate and permanent damage. A howitzer cannon at 175 dB or a rocket launch at 180dB can have devastating effects on hearing.
  • Music Industry performers and stage crew – singers. Rock concert speakers are measure at 110 – 140dB – again enough to cause human pain or even rupture eardrums. Stadium crowd noise can even reach 130 dB. Some professional singers have expressed their concern over hearing loss and some are being proactive in protecting their hearing
  • Motorsport Industry – Mechanics – pit crews – drivers. A single motorcycle at 100 dB, 114 dB for a driver inside a car during practice or noise levels in the pit of130 dB are all levels of concerns.
  • Road crews / Maintenance / Construction Sites – an auto horn measured at 1 meter can cause pain at 110 dB, an idling diesel truck 80 – 90 dB. Add that to road construction equipment and your exposure levels are dramatically increased.

What dB levels are cause for concern?

Hearing damage can occur at the following levels when exposed for these lengths of time.dB Metre

  • Higher than 85 dBa for 8 hours or more









Hearing protection over these far reaching professions and industries is a concern that affects directly or indirectly most people.

You may be directly affected or your hearing loss may have a negative impact on your personal and working life. Understanding the impact that noise can have on your hearing is the first step to taking action. The second is actually protecting your hearing under these conditions.

Contact us to learn more about protecting your hearing. 


June 7, 2016
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CPE will be doing fittings for customized hearing protection at SAIT

 June 8 & 9th

The Custom Protect Ear team will be conducting a:


June 8th & 9th, 2016 – 11am – 4pm
Thomas Riley Building

SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology)


Hearing Protection is a Sound Investment, especially in the following trades

  • Agricultural Equipment Technician
  • Appliance Service Technician
  • Auto Body Technician
  • Automotive Service Technician
  • Baker
  • Bricklayer
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Carpenter
  • Concrete Finisher
  • Cook
  • Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator
  • Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator
  • Electric Motor Systems Technician
  • Electrician
  • Heavy Equipment Technician
  • Instrument Technician
  • Ironworker
  • Insulator
  • Gasfitter
  • Glazier
  • Machinist
  • Materials Technician
  • Millwright
  • Natural Gas Compression Technician
  • Painter and Decorator
  • Parts Technician
  • Plumber
  • Recreation Vehicle Service Technician
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic
  • Rig Technician
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Steamfitter-Pipefitter
  • Transport Refrigeration Technician
  • Welder
  • Wire Process Operator Apprentice
Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.01.50 PM

What is 3D printing?

June 2, 2016

What is 3D printing?

We’ve all heard about 3D and understand the concept of 3 dimensional (3D) viewing but how does that translate into 3D printing?

3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file (picture). The descriptive term for 3D printing is “Additive Manufacturing” which gives us a visual clue as to the process behind 3D printing. The object is actually created through a layering process utilizing specialized 3D scanners and 3D printers.

How does the 3D Printing Process work?

The first step is to create a virtual design or blueprint of the object you want to create. This can be created using a 3D modeling program in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) An existing object can be copied with the use of a 3D scanner. This technology is being used by many technology companies such as Microsoft and Google who have developing hardware to perform 3D scanning. Microsoft’s Kinect is an example of what the future may hold for smartphones and other hand-held devices having integrated 3D scanners. In the very near future this digitalization of real objects into 3D models will be performed as easily as taking a picture on your smart phone is now.

The 3D printing software “slices” the final model into hundreds or even thousands of layers several microns thick in preparation for printing

The second step to the process is sending the finished design to the 3D Printer where the received data is now recreated by bonding very thin layers of resin together into a finished object. There are several different methods and materials used in 3D printing depending upon the object needeDigital Printing d to be manufactured but the one similarity is the use of a layering process.[1]

Depending upon your desired finished product there are several options or types of 3D printing. Some involve heating and solidifying granular material by laser technology with each slice in the needed pattern. This is repeated over and over again with each patterned layer bonding to the previous layer as it cools. Other 3D printers will spool out or deposit material much like an automated glue gun while others use UV light to cure layers of resin.

How does Custom Protect Ear (CPE) utilize this 3D Technology to help your ears?

CPE is using this “cutting edge” technology (literally!) to compliment their existing high quality custom hearing protection.

The digital 3D printing technology used by CPE creates an accurate and precise Hearing Protection Device (HPD). CPE utilizes DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology (the most precise in the market) through the EnvisionTEC ULTRA® 2 printer.  The technology provides benefits both to the wearer and to the product development process:

  • Quality in consistency during HPD modeling means accuracy and precision
  • Quality Control during product implementation ensures proper fit for the wearer
  • New designs can now be updated and printed in real time, improving implementation of new design developments.

The DLP technology allows for the ability to add more product features in ways which were not always possible before. For example, CPE can place an employee number or serial number of any size anywhere on the HPD, unlike being limited to the outer surface with traditional technology.

The traditional method of producing ear moulds includes manual physical cutting and grinding of the ear impressions to shape them close to the shape of the finished product. Plaster moulds are then created based on these impressions, and silicone is placed into the prepared moulds.

The final quality performance check (ensuring the HPD is accurate and precise) is completed when the original impression and the new 3D model are overlayed on screen Following this, the moulds are printed in the digital 3D printer. The final HPD is obtained by pouring silicone material into the mould.

The 3D Approach

3D Printing digital moulds

CPE has been using this new 3D approach for almost 3.5 years integrating it with their already custom design method of producing ear moulds for dB Blockers, dB Com and dB Life products. The ability to create complex objects is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry and improving quality and consistency in products produced using this 3D technology.


~ by Howard Raphael 
CEO Custom Protect Ear