Hi! I’m your ear

December 8, 2014

Hi! I’m your ear.

OK, I know you have two. I’m your right ear, but I am talking to you with the full awareness, permission, and authority of my sibling, your left ear.

Why am I talking to you now? Well, I have some things to say for myself, on behalf of my sibling, your left ear, and the rest of your hearing (auditory) system while I still can. You see, when you hear from one or all of us otherwise, such as when we buzz, roar, or ring, it means that’s something is wrong. So, I’d like to take this opportunity now while things are still right and otherwise quiet.

When you think of me, you think of what you see hanging off the left and right side of your head. I know that because my cousin, your brain, told me so. Those aren’t really your ears; they’re only a part of the neighbourhood.

So, being self-centered, let me start by describing myself and I’ll get around to talking about my neighbours, some of whom are cousins, later.

When you were born, you had two sense organs that were fully developed: your nose and your ear.

Your eyes were still a work in progress. In fact, so was your brain. (In fact, unless you’re over 25 years old, your brain is still a work in progress. Just ask the car rental companies.)

So, soon after you were born I started training my cousin your brain, by means of the 8th cranial nerve (don’t you just love it when I talk medical), to listen. The 8th nerve is also called the Auditory Nerve. That training is quite a job. Other than the signals I sent that are translations of the sounds I received, I had to send noises so that your brain could start making “sound maps” that would be useful later as you became aware of the world around you. You know things like recognizing your mother’s voice and in learning to understand what your mother was saying to you.

I knew this already, but there have been recent scientific studies as to the earliest age for a baby to recognize his mother’s face from the faces of others and the earliest age when a baby can recognize his mother’s voice. While a baby as young as three months can recognize his mother’s face, that baby already could recognize his mother’s voice after a few days and at 100% accuracy. Wow, I bet that comes in handy.

While on the topic of mothers, let me tell you two other things. While I can hear sounds while in the womb, even my mother playing music, my upstairs cousin, the brain, can’t make sense of them since those sound maps I have to send haven’t been formed. So enjoy the music, but don’t think that you are doing me any favours. The sounds I hear from my mother’s body are sufficient, thank you.

Second, is that I am the second oldest perceptual organ from an evolutionary point of view. Your sense of smell is developmentally older. Early life first needed to respond to chemicals around them to know whether they were about to eat or be eaten. Response to pressure changes in the surrounding fluids came second. Thus, those early animals that could respond to the chemicals around them and the pressure changes so that they were predator instead of prey lived to pass on their genes. Responses to chemicals became smell, and taste, and responses to pressure changes became hearing.  So much for history.

That scoop fastened to the outside of the head isn’t me. That just focuses sound for me. You can’t see me, or my sibling. I am located deep inside in the temporal bone portion of your skull; the hardest bone in the body. I am made up of a long curled-up tube that has a membrane-like organ dividing it and I am filled with fluid. I share the fluid with the balance system. Inside this membrane-like organ, called the organ of Corti (because Corti was the first person to describe it) are 30,000 hair cells, I have only 5,000, called inner hair cells, that send information to the brain to be processed as sound; speech, music, Harley-Davidsons, etc. The other 25,000 are there to tune the system for optimal hearing precision, both in terms of loudness and pitch. They are called outer hair cells. Think of them as fast-responding pre-processors so that my 5,000 inner hair cells can send the best and most accurate information on up to the brain. To keep my 30,000 hair cells active and healthy are about 500,000 other cells and structures.

I am up and working 24/7/365 for as long as you live. I don’t get time off. You have no earlids you can close to shut out sound. Even if you did, I’d be hearing the sounds the rest of your body makes anyway. It’s pretty noisy in here all of the time what with your breathing and pulse. My cousin the brain has a habit of turning off processing what I am sending so that you can sleep, but I am sending anyway.

The way I send information to the brain is via the lower portion of the Auditory Nerve. The balance system gets the upper portion to send its information.  Here is a sketch of me, my neighbours, and my cousins. I am the part coloured in violet and labelled cochlea.

Ear Drum

The way I get sounds is pretty fantastic from an engineering point of view.

Remember, I said that I was filled with fluid. You don’t live underwater, so sounds come to you through air. If you have ever been in a swimming pool, a lake, or even the ocean, when you completely submerge your head underwater, you can’t hear the sounds above you up in the air very well. That is because when sound strikes a surface such as water, more than 99.99% of it is reflected away and only 0.01% of it gets into the water.  Same with me. If sound came directly to me without first getting managed by my neighbours, you would have a hearing loss of at least 40 dB (that means enough so that a person whom you can now hear clearly when talking to you from a yard (about 1 meter) away would now have to be 4 inches (10 mm) away to sound as loud).

So, who are my neighbours participating in this engineering marvel?

Coming from outside of your head, what you call your ear is often called the pinna or auricle. Scientists, as recently as in the 1970s, thought the pinna to be a vestigial organ (in other words not very useful), sort of like they did the appendix in your gut. Now they know, and I have known all along of course, that the pinna is vital for collecting sounds, particularly those in the higher frequencies, and doing so in such a way that the brain can make use of the information I send. With the pinna, you can tell if sounds are coming from in front or from in back. Without the pinna, you can’t. And while some animals can move their pinna to allow hearing to be more directional, we primates don’t have that ability or, apparently, necessity. It’s the bowl of the pinna that is especially useful for getting high-frequency sounds to me.

Connected to the pinna is the ear canal. It is a tube a little over an inch long (2.54 cm). It has two primary, albeit passive, functions. First, it provides a stable temperature at the eardrum. This is important, because if the temperature at the eardrum were to change much above or below body temperature, my cousin the balance system could be affected and you’d get dizzy. Second, it amplifies sound in the higher frequencies where there is a lot of low-intensity information in speech. The ear canal is lined with skin, the same as the rest of your body. The outer two-thirds of it has glands that produce oils that combine with dust, dirt, and sloughed off skin cells to make ear wax. There are hairs in the ear canal that work to push the ear wax out.

On behalf of the ear canal I’d like to inform you that only one thing smaller than your elbow belongs in your ear canal, an earplug to protect me from loud sounds. Keep your Q-tips® out! What happens when you use a cotton swab, hairpin, or unfolded paper clip to clean out your ear is that you can cause scratches that can become infected. And rather than clean it out you can push the wax in further and, once inside far enough, it’s not coming out on its own. It can stay to form a dam, trap water behind it, or just pack up enough to completely close off the ear canal, giving you a hearing loss. Plus, even if you do succeed in getting the wax out, you’ll eventually rub off the hairs that are supposed to push the wax out on their own. So, keep out everything other than earplugs and if wax comes out when you remove an earplug, clean off the earplug.

At the end of the ear canal is my eardrum.

Its outer surface is a thin lining of skin, its middle structure is made of fibres to give it shape, while its inner surface is made from mucous tissue like the lining of your mouth. That starts the middle ear, which is an air-filled space that contains, among other things, three small bones, the ossicles, the smallest bones in your body. They are set up in a lever arrangement with the end of the smallest bone connecting to me. As sound strikes the eardrum, it is converted to vibration that is delivered to me. The ratio of the area of the ear drum to that of the plate of the small bone driving me is 30:1. By the time I get the vibes, most of the 99.99% of sound that would have been lost has been recovered, well at least 98% of it.

So, I get the good vibes courtesy the eardrum and the ossicles and convert them into neural information and send that information up the 8th nerve to the brain. Remember, I’ve trained the brain to listen; that is, make sense of what I’m sending. Along with what my sibling on the left side sends, I can let the brain figure out from which direction a sound is coming: left, right, up, down, front, back, or on the side at 30 degrees to the right, from slightly above me, and moving. The brain can sort out speech from noise if I send the correct information.

Remember the bit about earplugs?

You need to know this: I am the most active organ you have. That is, I consume more oxygen and nutrients, allowing for my weight, than any other organ your body has, including my cousin your brain. If you’ve ever been deprived of oxygen, you may have notice the first thing to happen is that sounds become distorted and you may even have heard a buzz.

The range of sound pitches I can process range from just above vibration at 15 cycles per second (now called Hertz – abbreviated Hz – after a German physicist) to more than 20,000 Hz. At least I could when you were born. I can also hear sounds so soft as to be near the random noise air molecules make (called Brownian motion after another physicist) to as loud as the noise from a rocket being launched.  When sounds become too loud for me to handle safely, I can have the brain send a message back to two muscles in the middle ear to change the lever action of the three bones of the middle ear, reducing their efficiency. But this takes time, so I get the initial insult from loud sounds.

Notice that I used the word insult. That’s just what loud sounds are. Once the sound gets above a certain level, it’s simply too much for me to handle cleanly and safely. It’s the equivalent of a light being too bright, and this trick with the middle ear bones is similar to squinting and really no more effective.

If these sounds are loud enough and long enough, I get bruised and you lose some hearing for a while. I may be sending other sounds related to the bruising to the brain and you’ll perceive these as a ringing, buzz, or a roar. Your hearing will sound muffled. Give me a rest and I’ll recover, but not without a mark. Some of my 2500 inner hair cells may not come back. They’ll die. They won’t be replaced. All of the hair cells I had the day you were born is all that I am ever going to get.

Now, for a while, I can work around the loss of hair cells.

Between me and the brain, we can cover for the loss so that you won’t notice it. But, eventually, when enough are lost, when I am bruised and battered by loud sounds, we won’t be able to work around the loss and you’ll begin to develop a loss of hearing. I’m designed to work best when the loudest sound I hear is you, your voice. I need protection from regular exposure to sounds louder than your voice or I’ll get bruised, giving you a temporary loss of hearing. Eventually, I’ll be battered and that hearing loss will become permanent.

There is a cultural myth that implies that everyone loses their hearing as they age to the point of being deaf. It’s a myth because it’s not true. Yes, when I’m 85 I won’t be as spry as when I was 8 or 18, but I’ll still be functioning well enough for you to hear your grandchildren and the song birds in the neighbourhood.  You shouldn’t have to crank up the sound of the television to the point where your neighbours hear the evening news from your TV.

But, to get to that point, there are few conditions. First, you need to be healthy and free from disease. I don’t mean that you need to go to extremes, just stay well. Second, if you’re from a family that is predisposed to loss of hearing – we don’t understand it, but some people are – then pay close attention to your hearing. Third, protect me from loud sounds. As a rule of thumb, if you have to raise your voice to have a face-to-face conversation with someone more than 1 yard (meter) from you, you need to be protecting me. You can do that two ways: 1) get away from the noise or 2) use your earplugs or earmuffs (or your fingers to plug up your ears if necessary) to reduce the noise I get.

While really loud music may be entertaining, it hurts me.

You generally can’t play music loud enough on your home stereo to be hurtful to me. Someone will be telling you turn it down or it won’t sound goodEar at high level anyway. But you can play your earphones on your music player (iPad, iPod, Chip, Geek Wave, or even your smart phone) loud enough. You can also install a car audio system that plays loud enough to impress your friends, annoy your neighbours, and hurt me. Instead of turning it up to 11, turn it down to 5.

You can also be exposed to dangerously loud music at live concerts.

If you’ve noticed that the performers are wearing custom earplugs for their monitors, you should be wearing your earplugs to protect me. The same goes for sporting events where fans are constantly engaged in cheering or jeering such as hockey or football. Further, there is no such thing as a tractor pull or automobile race that is quiet enough to be safe for me, so take your earplugs with you as you leave for the event.

Do you like to hunt or shoot?

The loud crack from the weapon firing may be satisfying to you, but it hurts me. You like working with hand tools? Do you realize that the sound of each hammer blow hurts me? So the great feeling you get from driving a nail or breaking down a wall for home rehab doesn’t feel so good to me. Power tools, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and such are also dangerously noisy for me. So, as a rule of thumb, if you’re going to protect my cousins, your eyes, protect me.  If you have to shout to be heard over the noise, PROTECT ME.

If you do notice that I am losing it, act early.

Please, don’t be vain, don’t be a denier. See a hearing-health professional and ask about getting me some help (a hearing aid). The less time that the brain and I have to work around your loss of hearing, the better you’ll do with a hearing aid. While you’re at it, become extra aggressive about protecting the hearing you have left. I came into this world when you were born ready to go and just needed to complete some training for your brain on how to listen.  I plan on sticking around as long as you do, so a little help would be appreciated.

Stay healthy, avoid loud noises and music, and use hearing protection when necessary, and my sibling over there on the left and I will be here working 24/7/365 as planned.

National Hearing Conservation Association 2014

March 24, 2014

NCHA Conference: Stop Gambling with your Hearing.

recap by Jeffery Goldberg

The 2014 conference of the National Hearing Conservation Association just concluded.

This year the conference was in Las Vegas which was, for a conference normally situated in smaller locations like St. Petersburg and Tuscon, NHCA different. Because Las Vegas is home to massive conventions with hundreds of thousands of attendees, having a conference with 300 attendees not get trampled in the confusion is quite a feat (actually the conference was located in Summerlin, a retirement community northwest of Las Vegas).

This year’s conference was focused on many aspects of the hearing conservation program but chief among the podium presentations was a focus on making and using hearing protection. Unlike previous years, there was much made of custom hearing protection as though this sometimes forgotten form of hearing protection had been recently rediscovered by researchers. Tracks for Musicians, the Military, and Audiologists also allowed those with special interests to delve into research in those fields.  This conference was most illuminating shining a light on many areas of new hearing research.

NEW! at the NHCA 2014 Conference

As well, not on the podium but present was an exhibition accompanying the conference. Unlike some years past, there was new and exciting information this year.

FitCheck Solo

Dr. Kevin Michael of Michael & Associate, introduced a new device for verifying the fit of ear muffs and showed updates to his popular FitCheck Solo Fit Testing Program (by way of full disclosure Custom Protect Ear (in Canada) and ProtectEar USA sell and train users for FitCheck Solo).  There was much interest in FitCheck for Earmuffs as people have long looked for a way to determine if an earmuff was protective enough.

Also New at this years conference, was an introduction for digital scanning on the ear. Lantos Technologies showed their digital ear scanning device (one of 3 companies with such a device currently in development). Lantos has tapped Brian Fligor formerly of Boston Children’s Hospital as their Chief Audiology Officer.  Brian has a long history are a preeminent research on matter of hearing conservation. His joining Lantos augers for an exciting introduction for this new technology.

3M and Howard Leight division of Honeywell we present with new types of hearing protection and Fit Testing systems on display. If you’re reading this blog, and have an interest in hearing preservation, you should think about becoming a member of the association.  Check out their website at Hearingconservation.org . 

Now you know that Disneyland is sometimes called the happiest place on earth. Well, the Rampart Casino in Summerlin, attached to the Marriott housing the conference, is its opposite – the unhappiest place on earth. No this is not sour grapes because I lost some money. In fact, I didn’t even play.  This is my observation of the folks sitting in the casino, any time of the day or night, looking like they had or were about to loose their best friend.  No matter when I walked through the casino (and in Las Vegas, architects have mastered designing the hotel so that everywhere you want to go is on the other side of the casino) I never saw a smile. Just folks sitting at slot machines and gaming tables wishing they were somewhere else but not having the ability to go there. 

Next year, the NHCA conference is in New Orleans in February. If you have any interest, think about coming to check it out. You don’t have to join the Association to come to the conference (it is just cheaper if you do).   Until next time…

Jeffrey Goldberg | President
Custom Protect Ear Inc.

 

Alternative to Relying on the NRR

February 25, 2014

Measurement of Insert-type Hearing Protector Attenuation on the End-user: A Practical Alternative to Relying on the NRR

NRR Data

Hearing protectors are labeled with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that is derived from laboratory measurements of the attenuation provided to trained and motivated human subjects in a ‘sterile’ environment. As intended, these measurements represent a best-fit condition. The literature indicates that the average attenuation provided to end-users of hearing protectors is often only a fraction of the labeled values. Because of this, various derating schemes are employed, including the 50% derating suggested in the OSHA inspector’s Technical Manual and the variable derating according to protector-type suggested in the 1998 NIOSH criteria document on occupational noise exposure.

De-rating the labeled NRR

De-rating the labeled NRR provides a better estimate of the average attenuation realized by a population of end-users. However, field measurements indicate that attenuation provided across end-users is highly variable (standard deviation > 10 dB), so many wearers will receive much greater attenuation than the average, and many will receive much less attenuation than the average. Therefore, if hearing protectors are selected according to a de-rated NRR, some individuals will still be under-protected and some will receive excessive attenuation, leading to potential communication problems. A solution to this problem is to base the selection process on objective data obtained by measuring the attenuation provided to each end-user of insert-type hearing protectors.

dB Blocker

In this article the Steel Industry experience is examined when it comes to individual hearing protector fit-testing.  In this industry Almost all HPD wearers at this plant wear insert-type devices. To learn more about the wide variability of attenuation provided by insert-type protectors a results please click here to download the entire study: DOWNLOAD PDF 

 

 

Field Attenuation Estimation Systems: THE POSSIBILITIES

February 11, 2014

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

Hearing protectors are labeled with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that is derived from  laboratory measurements of the attenuation provided to trained and motivated human subjects in a ‘sterile’ environment. As intended, these measurements represent a best-fit condition. The literature indicates that the average attenuation provided to end-users of hearing protectors is often only a fraction of the labeled values. To learn more about the practical alternative to relying on the NRR, click here. 

Custom Protect Ear would like to present a FREE  WHITEPAPER about obtaining Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) that is compared to Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).

Field Attenuation Estimation Systems: THE POSSIBILITIES

Would it be nice if you could determine how effective a hearing protector was under workplace conditions. In Appendix FAES The PossibilitiesIV:C of the OSHA Field Manual, Methods for Estimating HPD Attenuation, U.S. OSHA states, “The actual effectiveness of any individual hearing protector cannot be determined under workplace conditions” (U.S.Department of Labor). This has never been completely true. It has been difficult, but not impossible, to determine the actual effectiveness of any individual hearing protector for any individual user because of two issues. First, there has been no available commercial product for testing hearing protector effectiveness for the individual user until just recently – for less than 10 years compared to an OSHA regulation on noise and hearing conservation that dates back almost 45 years in its most skeletal form. Second, there have been no accessible commercial methods for determining the effectiveness of any individual hearing protector for any individual until recently. In fact, now there are three:

  • There are methods involving simulations of the real-ear attenuation at threshold (REAT) using large-cupped earphones to place over the ears to test earplugs. (Michael and Associates FitCheck, Workplace INTEGRA, Inc. INTEGRAfit, NIOSH Well-Fit and FitCheck Solo)
  • There are methods involving having a person balance the loudness of a signal presented to an open ear to that of a signal presented to an ear occluded with an earplug.
  • There are methods that employ the use of a sub-miniature or probe microphone placed in a surrogate protector to predict what attenuation a user would receive when wearing the actual hearing protector in a similar manner.

To read complete paper fill out the form to get the Field Attenuation Estimating System Whitepaper Report. Click here:

I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.

January 20, 2014

The Peace in “Quiet.”hearing loss

It was a cold rainy Sunday as I was browsing through the web seeing if I could find anything interesting to read. I often like looking at the New York Times to get a sense of what the masses are thinking. And to my surprise I stumbled over this article. This article hit close to home, as I am in the business of hearing loss prevention.  Our company Custom Protect Ear makes personal hearing protection that’s fights against noise and noise pollution in both everyday and work environments. Hearing Loss Prevention is our business.

“And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound”. 

So, I share this article with all of my friends, colleagues, subscribers, contacts and customers. This article does an excellent job in depicting the raw affects of everyday noises and it impacts our thought process. Our world has become so filled with noise pollution that we as humans may have forgotten what “quiet” is.

I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet

By GEORGE PROCHNIK – Published: August 24, 2013  In the NewYORK TIMES SUNDAY REVIEW. 

SLAMMING doors, banging walls, bellowing strangers and whistling neighbors were the bane of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s existence. But it was only in later middle age, after he had moved with his beloved poodle to the commercial hub of Frankfurt, that his sense of being tortured by loud, often superfluous blasts of sound ripened into a philosophical diatribe. Then, around 1850, Schopenhauer pronounced noise to be the supreme archenemy of any serious thinker.

 Argument Against Noise

A great mind can have great thoughts only if all its powers of concentration are brought to bear on one subject, in the same way that a concave mirror focuses light on one point. Just as a mighty army becomes useless if its soldiers are scattered helter-skelter, a great mind becomes ordinary the moment its energies are dispersed.

And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound.

From the vantage point of our own auditory world, with its jets, jackhammers, HVAC systems, truck traffic, cellphones, horns, decibel-bloated restaurants and gyms on acoustical steroids, Schopenhauer’s mid-19th century complaints sound almost quaint. His biggest gripe of all was the “infernal cracking” of coachmen’s whips. (If you think a snapping line of rawhide’s a problem, buddy, try the Rumbler Siren.) But if noise did shatter thought in the past, has more noise in more places further diffused our cognitive activity?

Environmental Noise Calls Attention to Itself

Schopenhauer made a kind of plea for mono-tasking. Environmental noise calls attention to itself — splits our own attention, regardless of willpower. We jerk to the tug of noise like sonic marionettes. There’s good reason for this. Among mammals, hearing developed as an early warning system; the human ear derived from the listening apparatus of very small creatures. Their predators were very big, and there were many of them.

Mammalian hearing developed primarily as an animal-detector system — and it was crucial to hear every rustle from afar. The evolved ear is an extraordinary amplifier. By the time the brain registers a sound, our auditory mechanism has jacked the volume several hundredfold from the level at which the sound wave first started washing around the loopy whirls of our ears. This is why, in a reasonably quiet room, we actually can hear a pin drop. Think what a tiny quantity of sound energy is released by a needle striking a floor! Our ancestors needed such hypersensitivity, because every standout noise signified a potential threat.

There has been a transformation in our relationship to the environment over the millions of years since the prototype for human hearing evolved, but part of our brain hasn’t registered the makeover.

Every time a siren shrieks on the street, our conscious minds might ignore it, but other brain regions behave as if that siren were a predator barreling straight for us. Given how many sirens city dwellers are subject to over the course of an average day, and the attention-fracturing tension induced by loud sounds of every sort, it’s easy to see how sensitivity to noise, once an early warning system for approaching threats, has become a threat in itself.

Indeed, our capacity to tune out noises — a relatively recent adaptation — may itself pose a danger, since it allows us to neglect the physical damage that noise invariably wreaks. AHyena (Hypertension and Exposure to Noise Near Airports) study published in 2009 examined the effects of aircraft noise on sleeping subjects. The idea was to see what effect noise had, not only on those awakened by virtual fingernails raking the blackboard of the night sky, but on the hardy souls who actually slept through the thunder of overhead jets.airplane noise

The findings were clear: even when people stayed asleep, the noise of planes taking off and landing caused blood pressure spikes, increased pulse rates and set off vasoconstriction and the release of stress hormones. Worse, these harmful cardiovascular responses continued to affect individuals for many hours after they had awakened and gone on with their days.

As Dr. Wolfgang Babisch, a lead researcher in the field, observed, there is no physiological habituation to noise. The stress of audible assault affects us psychologically even when we don’t consciously register noise.

Loud Sounds can be Debilitating

In American culture, we tend to regard sensitivity to noise as a sign of weakness or killjoy prudery. To those who complain about sound levels on the streets, inside their homes and across a swath of public spaces like stadiums, beaches and parks, we say: “Suck it up. Relax and have a good time.” But the scientific evidence shows that loud sound is physically debilitating. A recent World Health Organization report on the burden of disease from environmental noise conservatively estimates that Western Europeans lose more than one million healthy life years annually as a consequence of noise-related disability and disease. Among environmental hazards, only air pollution causes more damage.

A while back, I was interviewed on a call-in radio station serving remote parts of Newfoundland. One caller lived in a village with just a few houses and almost no vehicular traffic. Her family had been sitting in the living room one evening when the power suddenly cut off. They simultaneously exhaled a sigh of relief. All at once, the many electronic devices around them (including the refrigerator, computers, generator, lamps and home entertainment systems and the unnatural ambient hum they generated and to which the family had become oblivious) went silent. The family members didn’t realize until the sound went off how loud it had become. Without knowing it, each family member’s mental energy was constantly diverted by and responsive to the threat posed by that sound.

Where does this leave those of us facing less restrained barrages? Could a critical mass of sound one day be reached that would make sustained thinking impossible?

Is quiet a precondition of democracy? The Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter  suggested it might just be.  “The men whose labors brought forth the Constitution of the United States had the street outside Independence Hall covered with earth so that their deliberations might not be disturbed by passing traffic,” he once wrote. “Our democracy presupposes the deliberative process as a condition of thought and of responsible choice by the electorate.”

The quiet in Independence Hall was not the silence of a monastic retreat, but one that encouraged listening to others and collaborative statesmanship; it was a silence that made them more receptive to the sound of the world around them.

Most likely Schopenhauer had in mind a similar sense of quiet when he chose to live in a big city rather than retiring from society: apparently he, too, believed it important to observe as much of life as possible. And when he moved to Frankfurt, he didn’t bring earplugs. He brought along a poodle known to bark on occasion, and the flute he loved to play after writing. Most people who are seeking more serenity from the acoustical environment aren’t asking for the silence of the tomb. We just believe we should be able to hear ourselves think. Read Full Article: 

My Thoughts..

This article clearly illustrates that “the scientific evidence shows that loud sound is physically debilitating”. This is not common knowledge to most people. Sound and noise affects everyone who is exposed. Depending on the length of time and pitch of the noise – exposure can cause damage.  Unless we intend on living away from civilization– silence is something that is very hard to achieve. However, if we are aware of the surrounding noises that affect and shift our mental state then we like Schopenhauer can enjoy our time and environment with tools that allow us to drown out the unnecessary debilitating noises.

I encourage all of you to share this article with your circles.

Warm Regards,

Jeffrey Goldberg | President

Custom Protect Ear Inc.

Holiday hours

December 19, 2013

Custom Protect Ear passes another year

As we come to an end of another year 2013, we would like to extend our gratitude and thank all of our partners, vendors and customers in supporting our vision in obtaining a safe working environment through Hearing Loss Prevention Programs.

Cpe hours

Our Hours of Operation during the holiday season are as follows:

December 23, 2013 – 830am – 12pm (Pacific Standard Time) 

December 24, 2013 – 830am – 12pm

December 25 – 27th – CLOSED 

December 31, 2014 – 830am – 12pm 

January 1, 2014 – CLOSED 

This year has been another rewarding year. We had the opportunity to launch our USA website site: www.protectear.com/us, PLUS we also launched our newest and latest product, FitCheck Solo. FitCheck Solo allows wearers to check the attenuation of specific earplugs to ensure maximum protection against noise.

At Custom Protect Ear, we are continuing our pursuit in providing a safe and healthy work environment with our Hearing Loss Prevention products and programs.

From our home to yours…. we wish you a safe and happy

Holiday Season.

Warm Regards,

Jeffrey Goldberg | President
Custom Protect Ear

Advanced Hearing Support The Dangerous Decibels Project

December 4, 2013

The Dangerous Decibels Project

Advanced Hearing Support The Dangerous Decibels Project

Advanced Hearing supports various groups that advocate hearing safety. One of these is the Dangerous Decibels Project. This public health campaign is designed to reduce the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss in school-age children.

 

December 4, 2013) Virginia Beach, Virginia — The Dangerous Decibels Project was organized to bring attention to the problem of noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL as well as tinnitus in school-aged children.  The program aims to change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of these children to help them protect their hearing.  Advanced Hearing is dedicated not only to providing hearing aids for children but also to preventing hearing loss through education and changed behaviors.

According to the Dangerous Decibels Project website located at www.dangerousdecibels.org, hearing damage can occur at decibel levels over 85 and beyond eight hours per day.  School children are often exposed to East Inflatable Rentals far more than this in an average school day.  Dangerous Decibels advocates for companies to provide low cost hearing aids for children but also gives tips to avoid hearing loss altogether, including “Turn It Down,” “Walk Away” and “Protect Your Ears.”

Advanced Hearing provides discount hearing aids for both adults and children who have already suffered hearing loss.  In order to find the best hearing aid for an individual, Advanced Hearing offers hearing aid comparisons of behind the ear hearing aid models, digital and in-ear hearing aids and other brands.  Unlike companies that sell hearing aids online, Advanced Hearing is ready to compare hearing aids and give clients all the facts about every model.

Those who are interested in the facts about hearing loss and the work done by Dangerous Decibels can read more about it on the Advanced Hearing website at www.advancedhearing.us/hearing-education/educational-articles.  For an in-office hearing aid comparison and free test, clients can make an appointment with Advanced Hearing for their consultation.  Other products are also available on the website at www.advancedhearing.us/products/hearing-aids.

About Advanced Hearing

Advanced Hearing provides hearing aid services for clients of all ages.  With an advanced hearing aid center that provides free hearing aids comparisons for behind the ear hearing aids, digital hearing aids and other models, Advanced Hearing gives clients the information to make the right choice about their hearing assistance options.  Those who have suffered hearing loss, are having trouble making out words or who simply want to test their hearing and see how a hearing aid could help them are welcome to contact Advanced Hearing for a free consultation.

For More Information:  www.advancedhearing.us

New! FitCheckSolo™

October 17, 2013

ProtectEar takes the guesswork out of matching the right hearing protection with noise exposure.

October 21, 2013, Surrey BC. Canada. Custom Protect Ear Inc. (CPE) introduces a NEW product to Hearing Conservation called FitCheck Solo™. Developed by NIOSH/Dr. K. Michael and distributed by Custom Protect Ear Inc. CPE (Canada) and ProtectEar USA (United States), FitCheck Solo™.  is fast, accurate and simple.

Ease-of-use and being able to test someone with any earplug in place the way they fit them that day is what makes FitCheck Solo™ “The Smartest Fit Testing System In The World”. FitCheck Solo™ helps take the guesswork out of matching the correct hearing protection with known noise exposure.

You have tools that can measure the noise hazard, and can even measure the exposure to the noise hazard. The missing piece is knowing what attenuation online slots you are giving them   to deal with this exposure. FitCheck Solo™ can accurately measure this, for any earplug. As a training vehicle, it is the only system that can test a person’s attenuation the way they fit the plug that day. Simply pull the wearer out of the noise environment and test them with their earplugs still in place AND THEN with the plug removed. This is A GREAT way to show and teach people how to fit the plug themselves.  Another reason why FitCheck Solo™ is “The Smartest Fit Testing System In The World”.

 “The mission of Custom Protect Ear is the elimination of NIHL* for those we serve. The missing piece was always knowing the attenuation. We know the noise level, we know the exposure and we guess at the attenuation. Guessing is a thing of the past. No NRR, no de-rating, just the actual personal attenuation the wearer gets, finally!” ~ (Jeffrey Goldberg, President | Custom Protect Ear Inc.)

FitCheck Solo™ can be used by Safety Managers, Industrial Hygienists, Facility Managers, and Health &Safety Managers to measure any earplug from any source without additional devices – just a laptop, headphones and the actual earplugs they use.FitCheck Solo

To Learn more about FitCheck Solo™ please contact us today!

Custom Protect Ear
1-800-520-0220

National Safety Council Congress & Expo

September 23, 2013

 The 2013 National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Chicago

The NSC Congress & Expo is the world’s largest annual “must attend” event for safety, health and environmental professionals. For more than 100 years, professionals have turned to this event for industry-leading technology, education, networking opportunities and the tried and true products and services needed to stay at the forefront and remain competitive within the industry.The Congress is designed to build awareness of the tools available to you and your organization as you continue down the path to safety excellence.

The NSC Congress & Expo experience offers:

Educational Opportunities

  • Attendees don’t have to hunt through blogs for perspectives on trends and best practices – they can choose from a host of carefully selected opportunities led by verified safety experts. And because safety challenges come in all shapes and sizes, presenters make time for Q&A at the end.

Keynotes

  • Hear nationally recognized leaders and motivational s from both the public and private sectors speak about current and future issues affecting the industry.

Technical Sessions

  • Participate in more than 130 technical sessions, selected by a team that has hands-on knowledge of the latest industry trends providing the most comprehensive information needed to face today’s challenges.

Professional Development Seminars

  • Participate in more than 30 seminars providing in-depth, hands-on opportunities to focus on continued professional growth. Explore the Expo floor offering 190,000+ net square feet of more than 900 companies showcasing the latest innovative products and services. You’ll also find the New Product Showcase area, the Solution Center, OSHA’s Top 10 most cited safety violations and solutions from the International Safety Equipment Association.

Who attends and why?

The NSC Congress & Expo attracts decision makers, end users and distributors from a wide variety of industries including: manufacturing, construction, petrochemical and utilities. Coming from the United States, Canada and more than 60 other countries, these individuals range in experience from entry level to seasoned safety professionals representing companies such as Boeing, Schneider Electric, BP, Industrial Scientific, Kimberly Clark, URS, RockTenn Norcross, Fruit of the Loom and more.

Who exhibits?

Hundreds of industry-leading companies from around the world exhibit offering products and services in the following categories: general safety products, personal protective equipment, hazard controls and fall protection. Additionally, vendors specializing in facility maintenance and operation, environmental protection, ergonomics and risk management are in attendance to showcase their latest safety solutions.

Come See ProtectEar USA at BOOTH 534 September28th – October 4th, 2013

 

dB Cares™ about Breast Cancer

September 22, 2013

Together Change is Possible… db Cares

dB Cares™ is a Custom Protect Ear initiative created to address the impact our doing business has on the environment and to help support the people and communities where we live and work. CPE donates a portion of what we make to charity each year. One of our community initiatives is a program that partners with our customers to support breast cancer research. By matching the $5.00 added to the purchase of each pair of pink Blockers, CPE donates $10.00 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

dB Cares™ contribution to Breast Cancer Water Obstacle

This is a subject that is close to many of our hearts, and we are excited to report that through the diligent efforts of our reps and valued customers, through our dB Cares Program we have raised $18,519.00 in donations to breast cancer research. We presented this cheque to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in August 2013 (pictured below). 

db cares

dB Cares™ For The Community

dB Cares Breast Cancer

Your support of our products allows CPE to donate a portion of what we make to charity each year, and facilitate ways in which to raise additional money for causes that touch our stakeholders personally. Some of the ways we commit ourselves to the community are:

  • – Fund raising for community initiatives.See what we’re doing for Breast Cancer Research.
  • – Giving support to local food banks.
  • – Supporting community centers that offer programs for the economically disadvantaged.
  • – Encouraging our stakeholders to become more actively involved in their local communities.

 

Learn how you can be apart of dB Cares.