Oil Sands Conference 2013

September 12, 2013

Oil Sands Conference 2013: Custom Protect Ear was there 

The rapidly changing face of the Canadian oil sands and its unprecedented growth in the past decade has resulted in extraordinary opportunities for Oil Sands 2013 commercial organizations across the supply chain. Additionally, with the low cost of Canadian oil compared to the rest of North America, it is vital that the transport and infrastructure challenge is met head on in order to enter new markets and attract new buyers .

Oil Sands Conference examined the critical issues such as stakeholder engagement sumo wrestling suits for sale
, implementing innovative technology to meet the environmental challenges and accessing new markets for bitumen in order to safeguard the economic development and energy resource availability within Canada.

Delegates attended this industry leading event to keep-up-to-date on the very latest developments, and to increase your business opportunities in the Canadian oil sands. This years conference circled around Current Research & Development for the Alberta Oil Sands Sector. The Oil Sands COnference was held September 10 – 11 in Fort McMurray BC. Click Here to learn more.

Upcoming Tradeshows in Canada

Custom Protect Ear will be in Montreal at the CSSE 2013 show.

All Canadian Society of Safety Engineering members will get 25 % discount for dB Blockers purchased and Fit at CSSE 2013. Come see us at Booth 85 & 86 at CSSE Montreal – September 15-18, 2013. Call to get your facility fit or find out more today! Call 1800-520-0220 ext. 321

PLUS! Ask out the latest product: FitCheck Solo™

FitCheck Solo™ helps take the guess work out of matching the correct hearing protection with known noise exposure. Learn More

Solving the Problem: Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

June 24, 2013

Can you get the right answer if you ask the wrong question?

Common sense would dictate that asking how to get to the beach would seldom get you directions to the mountains.  Likewise, trying to solve the problem of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) by fixing how people choose and put in their hearing protection might be only part of the answer.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is still a concern.

Noisy workplaceNoise Induced Hearing Loss affects, by some reports, 1/3 of the persons in North America working in noise. If 1/3 of the people in New York City had the same malady, you can bet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would respond.  Likewise, the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health, the CDC’s workplace health and safety arm, has been on the case of NIHL for decades.  Regrettably, it is still a real problem.

In the last five years, several products have come on the market designed to measure the attenuation hearing protectors give to the people wearing them. These are  portable systems to measure the attenuation real people get in their work settings as opposed to measurements in a laboratory.  The granddaddy of these systems, FitCheck, has been around since 1994 and has been used extensively by companies like Alcoa to measure how effective their workers are at selecting and inserting effective hearing protection.  The problem these systems are trying to resolve is: How do we marry the right hearing protector with an individual and teach him or her to get the attenuation needed for it

Certainly this is a worthwhile goal provided once the protector is fit, it stays in their ears.  Aye, but there’s the rub.  Dr. Peter Rabinovitch has studied Alcoa’s hearing conservation program for many years. Dr. Rabinovitch says that “he can see no outcomes in Alcoa’s hearing conservation program attributable to the use of Fit Checking systems”.  That’s a lot of teaching and testing for no improvement in reducing NIHL.

Dr. Barry Bessler, in a speech to the National Hearing Conservation Association in 2007  tried to explain why rational, intelligent, normal people would turn up their digital music players loud enough to hurt their ears. Dr. Bessler’s answer was reasoned and complex.  One of the points he made is relevant to this conversation. He theorized that our sense of hearing is “hard wired” to our sense of safety.  Impair hearing and we don’t feel safe. In wanting to keep “in touch” with our environment, to feel safe, we need to be able to hear.  Therefore, if we are using hearing protection it must not block our ability to hear.  It must just make it safe to do so.  Given that most types of hearing protection substantially reduce our ability to hear our environment, will workers keep these protectors in their ears?  The evidence seems to indicate that they won’t.

This brings me back to my original point, in developing systems/machines to measure attenuation are we solving the problem of NIHL.  So what  we need to do is not worry about how much noise reduction a properly-worn hearing protector may provide if inserted in total compliance with the manufactuer’s instruction. What we need to worry about  is whether the protector is providing sufficient noise reduction for the noise in which the wearer works. Instead of using these systems/machines to teach, we should be using them to verify.


If Joe is  is carrying a noise burden of 92 dBA  and he needs only 17 dB of noise reduction to be safe  and can get a consistent 17 dB of noise reduction from an earplug with an NRR of 33 dB, GOOD! Joe doesn’t have to be taught how to get 33 dB of noise reduction. Or, in the case of a custom earplug, one should be made for Joe that givens him 17 dB of noise reduction.


I’m afraid I have my doubts that such a direction will be taken.  We need to be talking about making hearing protection as invisible to hearing as safety glasses are to vision. Instead, we have made them as cumbersome as full-face respirators.

In the interest of full disclosure Custom Protect Ear sells and supports the FitCheck and FitCheck Solo attenuation measurement systems. We do so understanding that they can be used as a tool to teach the effectiveness of hearing protection.  


ASSE Safety Show If you have something to add to this discussion, and you will be attending ASSE 2013 in Las Vegas this June, please come by and share it with me.
Custom Protect Ear is in booth # 551.

If you won’t be there, drop me a line to hearus@protectear.com


Jeffrey Goldberg | President
Custom Protect Ear

Attenuation in Earplugs

April 2, 2013

Consistency of Attenuation across Multiple Fittings of Custom and Non-custom Earplugs

Hearing protection devices (HPDs) play a significant role in protecting workers from occupational noise-induced hearing loss. Individual HPD fit-testing Noise Rating Attenuationestimates the amount of protection, or attenuation, that an individual achieves from a given hearing protection device as it is worn. Results from a single fit-test may not be representative of real-world hearing protection device performance over time, however, due to inconsistency in how the individual fits the hearing protection device from time to time. Jennifer B Tufts, Kelly N Jahn, and John P Byram conducted a study, the effects of hearing protection device type and user training on the consistency of attenuation achieved across multiple fittings were evaluated in a within-subjects design. To learn more or buy the study CLICK HERE.

In this study the subjects were initially naive to proper earplug insertion techniques and later received one-on-one training for the second half of the attenuation measurements. Consistency, or reliability, of fit was assessed using:

(i) the standard deviation of the ‘distance to ear mean attenuation’, a measure of fitting uncertainty, and

(ii) the standard deviation of the attenuation values across multiple fit-tests for each subject.

The custom earplug provided statistically significantly better consistency of attenuation than the non-custom earplug at 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz. Training effects were statistically significant at 250, 500, and 1000 Hz and at the Personal Attenuation Rating. No interactions were statistically significant. These results indicate that, in general, subjects obtained more consistent attenuation with the custom earplugs than with the non-custom earplugs and that consistency improved with training for both earplug types. CLICK HERE to buy article. REAT reliability training © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.

What is Attenuation

Attenuation measurements using a real-ear attenuation at threshold procedure were obtained on 30 participants wearing custom-molded and non-custom earplugs.

According to OSHA, for employees who have experienced a significant threshold shift, hearing protector attenuation must be sufficient to reduce employee exposure to a TWA of 85 dB. Employers must select one of the following methods by which to estimate the adequacy of hearing protector attenuation. The most Noise Reduction Rating convenient method is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to EPA regulation, the NRR must be shown on the hearing protector package. The NRR is then related to an individual worker’s noise environment in order to assess the adequacy of the attenuation of a given hearing protector. This appendix describes four methods of using the NRR to determine whether a particular hearing protector provides adequate protection within a given exposure environment. Selection among the four procedures is dependent upon the employer’s noise measuring instruments.

Instead of using the NRR, employers may evaluate the adequacy of hearing protector attenuation by using one of the three methods developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which are described in the “List of Personal Hearing Protectors and Attenuation Data,” HEW Publication No. 76-120, 1975, pages 21-37. These methods are known as NIOSH methods No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. The NRR described below is a simplification of NIOSH method No. 2. The most complex method is NIOSH method No. 1, which is probably the most accurate method since it uses the largest amount of spectral information from the individual employee’s noise environment. As in the case of the NRR method described below, if one of the NIOSH methods is used, the selected method must be applied to an individual’s noise environment to assess the adequacy of the attenuation. Employers should be careful to take a sufficient number of measurements in order to achieve a representative sample for each time segment.

NOTE: The employer must remember that calculated attenuation values reflect realistic values only to the extent that the protectors are properly fitted and worn.

Read more articles on Hearing Attenuation: 



Personal Hearing Conservation Noise Reduction Measures

Every human has their own limit of acceptance – according to their attitude to their own life and health, their family and their colleaques. This limit of acceptance varies a lot from human to human, but even if the limit is exceeded one will back away from the risk. The limit is rather vague and is related to workers’ traditions, possibilities of finding other less unhealthy jobs and the degree of influence at the workplace. The individual limit of acceptance thus might be either above or beneath what is considered healthy or legally justifiable.

Employees can make their own noise reduction measures by:

* Avoiding unnecessary noise at transport and handling – “don’t throw the things”.

* Stopping machines and equipment that is not in use at the moment

* Securing loose machine parts that rattle.

* Reducing occupation and staying in high noise areas to an absolutely minimum

* Using appropriate technical equipment, for example encapsulation and noise shields.

* Making their own routines for maintenance, adjusting and oiling machinery and equipment.

* Taking part in development and evaluation of new noise efforts.

* If anything else is impossible, and hearing protectors like dB Blockers must be used: Use them all the time!

* By taking any incipient hearing damage seriously, involve health personnel and have all damages properly investigated.

Learn more about Personal Hearing Conservation. 

Hearing Loss Prevention NHCA conference

March 14, 2013

Hearing Loss Insights by Jeffery Goldberg

Hello from the world of hearing loss prevention. Some updates on recent happenings for the ear geeks” who really care abouthearing loss.

The “big show” with regarding to hearing loss prevention is the annual NHCA Conference . Annually it brings together researchers who have spent the past 12 months or more looking at some aspect of preventing people from loosing their hearing.  Their research findings forms the content for papers delivered at the conference (PowerPoint on steroids).

Some of the most interesting research about Hearing Loss (to me) was:

Dr. John Casali hearing protector research

hearing loss in warehouse

Dr. John Casali has researched the characteristics of hearing protectors and determined that a measure of ones ability to localized sound sources with certain protectors should be developed. Dr. Casali suggest that like the measure of attenuation (NRR), a measure of the capability of the wearer to localize sounds sources would direct certain users to a safer protector if they are in areas where moving dangers exist (like a distribution warehouse with forklifts)

Hearing Protection for Musicians

In a session on hearing protection for musicians, Meed Killion and Kris Chesky looked at issues with regard protecting the hearing of musicians.  While both of these presenters have different viewpoints, they confirmed there is still much more to do.

Otoprotectants (Protect Against Noise)

There is a class of compounds known as Otoprotectants. These are substances that it is hoped, when ingested, enhance the ability of the ear to process noise. One of these compounds is currently starting Class 3 clinical trials which might be complete by 2015.  For organizations like the US Military, that sometimes can predict when their personnel will be exposed to noise, the development something that will protect against noise is certainly welcome.  Imagine if you are going to Bruce Springsteen concert tomorrow and it’s going to be loud.  You take you otoprotectant tonight so the sound won’t hurt your hearing tomorrow.

As I said, this is the stuff ear geeks enjoy. An additional piece of information came out of the conference.  There’s some
ear-geek-research that has indicated that having anything in your ears can prevent hearing damage.  Although it is too soon to draw conclusions, early reports show that the problem of hearing loss from noise might be related more to unprotected exposures than we ever imagined. Stay tunes for further developments.

If you have any topic that you’d like to direct us to, please send it along to me, Jeff Goldberg at hear@protectear.com . We’d love to hear from you.

Custom Molded Earplugs

February 4, 2013

Custom Protect Ear has been providing custom hearing devices for over 25 years. The custom molded ear products sometimes called Personalized Hearing Protection, are just as, if not more, effective for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss as are disposable earplugs.

What is a custom-moulded earplug?

A custom-moulded earplug is a laboratory-made earplug made from moulds taken by trained experienced impression takers. In North America the experienced impression takers may be audiologists, licensed hearing aid dispensers, or impression takers well trained by the manufacture. Most often, these are made of acrylic or soft silicone that can fit the ear and the ear canal tightly. The advantage of the softer earplugs is they change shape slightly as the wearer’s ear canal changes shape when talking or chewing, thereby continuing to seal during those activities.This deems to have great benefits when working in high activity – noise induced environments.

The custom-moulded earplugs are typically delivered in a protective storage/carrying pouch and will be accompanied with a tube of lubricant (most often petroleum jelly).dB-blocker-

The lubricant is applied to the earplugs during their initial use/break in period. The lubricant makes the earplugs easier to insert and also softens the interface of the earplug and ear improving comfort.

After about ten or so uses with the lubricant applications can stop as the silicon should have absorbed enough material to be easily inserted for the life of the earplug.

What is a disposable earplug?

So-called “foam” and pre-moulded earplugs are designed to be used for one time or in some cases, a few times. Exceptions to this restriction are those very expensive earplugs such as the Hi-Fi or military earplug that can be cleaned for repeated use.

Until the 1970’s the most common earplug was the V51-R made from soft silicone, a single-flange earplug developed for the military that came in five sizes. Because it didn’t work well, it required precise fitting.  Eventually it was discontinued due to repeated pressures from the scientists and practitioners in the hearing health community. Later other earplugs were developed with multiple flanges. ear plugs

When is a “custom-moulded” earplug NOT “custom”, but really a long-term use disposable earplug?

Simply put: Earplugs directly made from the impression materials, which can be considered as fitter-formed or mould-in-place, are not custom-moulded earplugs (Lake, 2012). This is true for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost is the impression material. Impression materials now used for laboratory-made custom-moulded earplugs are designed for the purpose of taking the impression and holding shape whist in transit to and whilst being processed to make moulds by the laboratory. Fitter-formed impression material is intended to become the final product and so it “cures” while setting during the impression process. In order for this to work, the fitter-formed impression material is more viscous than impression materials used for laboratory-made custom-moulded earplugs. As such, the likelihood of an impression free from flaws and with a faithful rendering of the shape of the concha and helix as well as the pinna and ear canal is small.

The impression for the laboratory-made custom-moulded earplug is also usually a silicone product made from mixing a base putty with a liquid or gel activator. Some laboratories use two-part silicone materials that combine catalyst and silicone in 50/50 proportion. The result is far less viscous material than used for the fitter-formed products; its viscosity is such that it may be put into a syringe for injecting into the ear canal and concha and helix of the pinna.

Second is the impression process. Fitter-formed products use putty created from combining a base putty with a liquid activator and then folding them until blended. That putty begins to cure immediately but has less-than a three-minute time window when it will be malleable. The putty is rolled into a cylinder and the pushed down the ear canal and padded into the concha and helix of the pinna. Once it seems to have cured, it is removed from the ear and trimmed. Handles or the ends of cords may have been attached after the insertion but before the impression cured.

For a custom-moulded laboratory-made earplug, following otoscopy, a cotton or foam dam is placed into the ear canal with its placement confirmed by otoscopy so that there is no chance for the impression material to travel deeply enough to make contact with the eardrum. As well, if the ear canal has excessive cerumin, the ear canal may be cleaned by the audiologist taking the impression or the person may be referred to his or her own physician to have the ear canals evaluated and cleaned – the exact procedure depends on locality and regulatory requirements.

Then, the impression material is injected to fill the entire ear canal between the dam and the opening of the canal behind the tragus and finally the bowl of the concha and the helix are filled.  There is a debate over whether the mouth should be closed, opened, or slightly opened during the time it takes for the impression material to set. The mouth slightly open (relaxed or with a bite block of 20 mm or so that) has been shown to provide better bass than mouth closed when the earplug is modified to be used with insert earphones. There have been no published studies of the differences in noise reduction between laboratory-made custom-moulded earplugs made from mouth-relaxed versus mouth-closed impressions.

Once the impression material has set, it is carefully removed from the ear, inspected to make sure there are no creases, ridges, or other malformations, and put into a package to be sent to the laboratory. There is no trimming done by the impression taker.

The experience and training of the impression taker is also very important. Depending upon locality and professional licensing regulations, the impression taker may have been trained by the laboratory making the custom-moulded earplugs, or have academic or clinical training in impression taking.  In any case, once the impression reaches the laboratory, its staff can determine the quality of the impression and may ask for a second impression if the first has flaws that the laboratory can’t adjust.

Already in the hands of some audiologists are laser scanners that can make a digital image of the impression, and the image goes to the laboratory for further processing to make the mould from which the earplug is made. As the image is stored digitally, so long as the file is not corrupted, it is possible to make as many earplugs from one impression as necessary for as long as is necessary. Soon to come will be digital imaging of the ear canal and pinna, so that there will be no use of impression material, as the image of the ear will be sent to the laboratory to be process into an earplug.  Either of these techniques should remove impression making from the hands of amateurs and DIY’ers.

Learn more about the advantages of Custom Molded Earplugs “Download the Whitepaper”.


What dB Blocker wearers are saying. 

 “I would like to say thanks I have had my db blocker vented convertible ear plugs for the past 7 years I would like to say that you guys make the best ear plugs I have come across I am a welder I have bin in the industry for the past 10 years. That are worth every penny great quality. Thanks you so much I will be going to my boss’s at my work (national steel car) to get all my brothers a pair of Db blockers.”

~ Babb Matt – National Steel Car.

Hearing Loss and Workers Compensation

January 14, 2013

Employees who are subject to high levels of noise at work will eventually experience hearing loss if they are not using proper hearing protection.  If that employee applies for workers compensation for hearing loss, the difficulty arises in determining exactly how much of that hearing loss is due to work related noise levels, and what hearing loss is either non-occupational or a natural occurrence due to age.

Testing for Hearing Loss

Determining this level of hearing loss is up to the workers comp claims adjuster. This can be very challenging because they must go back through the employee’s medical history related to their hearing. In some cases, they may have to go back decades to determine the correct percentage of hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work.High Noise Areas at Work

What the claims adjuster needs are previous records of audiograms performed by an audiologist or otolaryngologist in a soundproof room. These tests measure the employee’s hearing threshold at various frequencies. After finding previous records of hearing tests, the claims adjuster will then take a current reading of the employees hearing levels.

He or she then compares the previous levels to the current levels and adjusts the hearing loss depreciating the value for age and normal hearing loss that can be expected over the course of one’s lifetime.

If the new test shows an increase in hearing loss, the patient must then go through further testing by an otolaryngologist to determine if the hearing loss is due to a defect in the middle ear, an infection or a previous injury rather than to noise levels at work.

If the otolaryngologist determines that the hearing loss is due to one of these factors, the application for workers compensation can be denied, but if the otolaryngologist can determine that the hearing loss is due to noise levels or a combination of hearing problems, then the claim can continue.

Ask for a Baseline Audiogram – Mandatory from OSHA

Due to the complexity of determining these claims, it is imperative that employers offer baseline audiograms (mandatory under OSHA regulations) to new hires and encourage employees to wear hearing protection. The best way for employers to limit workers compensation cases is to protect the hearing of workers from the beginning.

Companies that incorporate hearing protection, like Custom Ear Protect dB Blockers™ into their safety program, will save money by decreasing hearing loss claims and reducing the cost of the claims that do occur. Explore our website to see how you can learn more about the difference in noise frequencies, how to test for noise levels at your workplace and how you can implement a successful hearing protection program.

Proper Use of PPE and Its Relationship to Workers’ Comp Costs

January 11, 2013

Article by Kevin Ring. View Full Article

Personal Protective Equipment in the Workplace

Is your employer making sure that you have the right personal protective equipment in your hazardous workplace. How do you know.

Sparks, noise, chemicals, falling o bjects, slippery or uneven walking surfaces, flying objects and sharp edges are just a few of the hazards facing U.S. workers on a daily basis. The ideal option is to eliminate the hazard and barring that, to control a hazard at its source, perhaps by putting a barrier — such as a wall — between the worker and the hazard.

When this isn’t a feasible, other measures must be put into place to safeguard employees and prevent workplace injuries that can result in skyrocketing workers’ compensation costs for employers.

Did you know OSHA requires all employers protect their employees!

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

To that end, OSHA requires that all employers protect their employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury by not only providing personal protective equipment (PPE) but also making sure their workers know how to use it and when to use it.

When using PPE, whether it’s safety glasses, gloves, earplugs or full body suits, employers must make sure employees have the proper training regarding:

  • – When PPE is necessary and how to properly wear it.
  • – Its limitations.
  • – How to determine if PPE is no longer effective.
  • – How to care for PPE.
  • – The process for replacing PPE.

Even though this is old news for employers, managers and even employees, non-compliance is widespread.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if all workers would just wear gloves, then more than 1 million hospital emergency visits by U.S. workers per year could be avoided. Last year, hand injuries alone cost employers over $500 million dollars (lost time, settlements, etc.). Dont even get us started on the cost of noise – and what it really can equate to. 

Below is a checklist of items you may want to check if your company is non-compliant.


If there is a lack of commitment in creating a culture that requires employees to automatically don PPE when necessary, employers don’t need to look beyond themselves.

A recent survey commissioned by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) of safety influencers in the heavy construction industry revealed that the main reason workers chose not to wear PPE when needed was because “employers don’t require or enforce usage.” While many employers realize that the use of PPE can pay huge dividends in workplace safety, plus result in higher morale and lower insurance premiums, many do not update their equipment, assess new situations or require rigorous enforcement.

The adverse result is loss of manpower (which few companies already running on the bare minimum can afford) and higher workers’ compensation costs. For some companies, a high number of injuries also hinders their competitiveness when bidding on certain contracts. A high price to pay for the low price of a carton of safety goggles.


So why are some employees still reluctant to wear PPE? A Kimberly-Clark professional survey taken at the 2008 National Safety Council Congress and Expo and the 2009 American Society of Safety Engineers’ conference found that discomfort was given as the most common reason.

A good solution is to involve employees in the selection, and to have a select group that is representative of employees using the gear try different samples and test it. It may be that more than one style is needed to accommodate the work force.

The second most common reason is the belief that PPE is not necessary for the task. Employees may have performed the same task for many years and never been injured. Showing employees videos of what can happen or having someone who sustained an injury speak to the group is the most effective way to combat this excuse.

Next is the concern that PPE is unattractive or doesn’t fit properly. If employees are content with their appearance, they will be more likely to use PPE. Increasingly, manufacturers are looking to improve style; offering some options such as customization, color and style can increase use.


Even regulations can be outdated and ineffective. Falls are the leading cause of injury and fatalities in the workplace, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consensus of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Launching a sweeping overhaul of the walking-working surfaces and PPE standards (PPE) to prevent injuries from slips, trips and falls, OSHA acknowledged that most of its existing standards for walking-working surfaces are more than 30 years old and inconsistent with both national consensus standards and more-recently promulgated OSHA standards addressing fall protection.

Citing the 2009 death of a worker at a chocolate processing plant who fell from an unguarded work platform, OSHA ‘s proposed rulemaking includes significant revisions to the existing general industry scaffold standards to better protect workers from such injuries.

As the rule stands now, for the most part, employers only are required to use guardrail systems. Under the proposed rule, employers would have to install a second layer of safety in place by also choosing the most effective fall protection option as added protection, ranging from the traditional safety nets to self-retracting lanyards. The proposed rule also would allow OSHA to fine employers who allow workers to climb certain ladders without fall protection.

In proposing the new rule, OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels referred to the 2009 incident by stating, “This is a clear and grave example of the human cost incurred when fall protection safeguards are absent, ignored or inadequate.”


For employers, PPE can protect not only their employees but also their company’s bottom line. An auto parts manufacturer in Michigan, which traditionally saw its claims costs increasing at the rate of 7-8 percent annually, now suddenly saw them escalating over 20 percent. A certified WorkComp advisor (CWCA) reviewed all open and prior injury claims, OSHA logs and safety committee minutes, and found that part of the problem was a safety issue centered on employees not wearing safety glasses.

By working closely with the safety committee and the human resources department, they were able to reduce the number of reported injuries and near misses by implementing a PPE training session and a “safe reporting without retaliation” rule that allowed proper reporting of safety glasses issues among co-workers. This action helped in part to reduce the number and size of the company’s workers’ compensation claims and lower its premium costs from $430,302 in 2004 to $185,000 in 2008. The company now uses its excellent safety record to beat the competition for work; a win-win for the employer and the employees.

Article by Article by Kevin Ring. Click here to view article.

Upcoming Tradeshows

January 2, 2013

The Custom Protect Ear team actively attends ongoing Tradeshow and events in various communities. This is an excellent time to learn more about the dB Suite of Products: dB Blocker, dB Com and dB Life.


January 11-13, 2013 Edmonton Motorcycle Show – Northlands 

January 17-20, 2013 Vancouver Motorcycle Show – Tradex Center 

March 11-13, 2013 – Indiana Safety Show – Indiana Convention Centre 

Plus if you already know about our hearing protection and communication products, and want some of your own. Come to us at our booth and we will do ear impressions right there.


Our custom fitting process usually takes about 10 minutes and typically begins with one of our highly trained experts visiting the customer’s plant or workplace in order to do the fitting on-site.

We begin by first inspecting the ear to make sure it’s safe to take an impression. Then an oto-dam is placed inside the ear to protect the eardrum. Impression material is prepared and carefully injected into the client’s ear. The material hardens quickly, and moments later, the impression is gently removed.

The impression creates an exact replica of the wearer’s ear canal and outer ear. This ensures the dB Blocker seals the ear both in the canal and around the ear. Making every dB Blocker unique to the ear it fits.

See our video to learn how to wear your dB Blockers™

YouTube Preview Image

Remember * dB Blockers ™ are the hearing protectors you can hear through. 

Do You Hear What I Hear?

December 19, 2012

Checklist for Hearing Conservation (Article by Facility Safety Manager) 

CINCINNATI — From ringing bells to yule logs crackling, the sounds of the holiday season are now in the air. However, for yule cracking employees in loud workplaces, these sentimental noises may become a faint memory of the past if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

To encourage businesses to develop and maintain effective hearing protection programs, Cintas Corporation, a leader in first-aid and safety products, has identified a checklist for selecting a hearing conservation partner for testing, training and hearing protection equipment.

“Unfortunately, hearing loss is an invisible threat within many workplace environments,” said John Amann, Vice President, Cintas. “It’s important to establish a comprehensive solution for hearing protection and partner with experts who provide employers with helpful tools and knowledge. We’ve combined our training and hearing protection equipment offerings with the on-site testing expertise of accredited professionals from Examinetics to ensure hearing conservation is an ongoing priority at work.”

The top must-have attributes for a hearing conservation partner include:

1. Industry knowledge: Partners should understand workplace hazards and be positioned to share that expertise with customers’ employees through on-site training sessions. For instance, many safety directors don’t realize that employees typically wear too much hearing protection. This backfires because employees either can’t hear, putting safety at risk, or remove earplugs or earmuffs in order to hear, thus compromising hearing health. Research also shows exposure to toxic agents such as carbon monoxide and organic solvents, such as those found in paint thinners, can impact hearing, especially when combined with noise. Partners with industry knowledge can share this information with safety directors to encourage everyday safety.

2. Onsite testing: Offsite hearing testing can lead to reduced productivity from workers and unnecessary stress for managers. Partners with mobile testing units simplify the process by bringing testing directly to worksites. Onsite testing also allows organizations to see results right away.

3. An extensive database: Since hearing loss is often gradual, it’s important to track the progression of employees’ hearing health over time. Partners can assist by using a secure database to keep baseline exam results on file to compare with new test results. Employers should have 24/7 access to test results and reports and understand how employee testing results compare to industry standards.

4. Testing in a calibrated environment: In some cases, noises may disrupt the accuracy of a hearing test. Hearing conservation partners can ensure results are precise by continuously monitoring the test environment during testing. This makes it easy to identify if a loud noise has compromised accuracy and the worker needs to be retested.

5. Proper certifications: OSHA requires hearing testing to be conducted by an audiologist, physician or technician. Preferably, technicians will be certified by the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). However, many offsite clinics have high staff turnover rates and choose to forgo CAOHC certification for employees. Individuals should have knowledge of OSHA, MSHA (mining) and FRA (railroad) hearing regulations. Ideal partners will also employ CAOHC-certified professional supervisors who have specific expertise in hearing testing compliance.

6. Multilingual options: Testing needs to accommodate employees whose first language is not English, so organizations should look for partners with testing in alternate languages such as Spanish. In Canadian companies alternative languages include French.

7. National reach: Consistent testing is important, especially for organizations with locations that span across cities and states. Partners with national reach can conduct testing at each location and compare results from one area to another. This allows companies to determine which locations need to improve hearing conservation efforts.

8. Personal protective equipment options: Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hearing earmuffs and earplugs, keeps employees safe in noisy environments. A partner should be able to recommend the correct type of protection, have a variety of options to fit different needs and people, and regularly replenish inventory so stock is never low. This will ensure employees have proper fitting and appropriate protection.

“A great hearing conservation program includes top-quality testing performed under the direction of an experienced and certified supervisor,” said Cindy Bloyer, manager of Audiology Services, Examinetics. “Combining this with proper training and equipment means that workers will be able to hear everything from job instructions to seasonal sounds for years to come.”

Thank you Facility Safety Manager.

Great Article! holiday image

A Holiday message from Custom Protect Ear

December 17, 2012

Custom Protect Ear 2012 Recap

Excessive NoiseAs we embark on a New Year we tend to reflect into the past; the decisions we’ve made, the people we’ve helped and this things we have done to take care of ourselves. In the time of an uncertain economy and dramatic environmental change we encourage everyone to do a little something to help those in need and as well as preserve your own health – as you are useless to everyone if you are not well.

We encourage everyone to incorporate health and safety into their everyday lives. 

So today as you rush to get to the store to get the Turkey or that last gift, leave a little early, be a little aware and take precaution, as you are one of many people rushing to conquer the same goal. Accidents and trauma can be prevented with precaution, awareness and safety. 

A message worth listening too.

excessive noise

As Custom Protect Ear is in the business of hearing protection and health and safety it is our wish, for those who are able to, avoid excessive noise. When your world is quieter everything makes more sense, allowing you to focus and concentrate on what’s important. For those who are unable to avoid excessive noise induced environments we wish you time, to rest your ears and the self awareness to make sure that it happens.

We want everyone to welcome 2013 with the same level of awareness and joyful noise as 2012.

Be Safe – Seasons Greetings.
Custom Protect Ear