Sound Advice

Custom Protect Ear in the News…

February 23, 2016

Hearing Loss Prevention Trifecta

Custom Protect Ear is proud to be featured in industry related articles applicable to hearing loss and hearing protection. Editors have been focusing on the Hearing Loss Prevention Trifecta: Fit, Comfort, and Communication. 

Summary of Articles:

Hearing protectors help combat hearing loss, improve compliance

Effective hearing protection should be comfortable, effective, and yet still enable people to talk to one another. Custom Protect Ear’s hearing protection devices are made of a medical-grade silicone, and they are designed to be soft and flexible. The advantage of the softer devices is better comfort and function. They change shape slightly as the wearer ’s ear canal changes shape when talking or chewing, thereby continuing to seal during those activities….

Custom Protect Ear has been featured in the following publications, click on logo to read full article:

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Trail Body Builders



Oil and gas workers suffering hearing loss at double the rate of other noisy industries

February 4, 2016

Oil and Gas workers suffering from hearing loss

It is no secret what is happening in the oil and gas sector with all the cut backs and downsizing. The oil and gas sector has seen 100,000 job at the end of 2015, including 40,000 direct jobs, as a combination of policy uncertainties and low crude oil prices decimates the sector.

But that is not all we are seeing or hearing from the Oil and Gas sector……

According to Worksafe BC Oil and gas workers suffering hearing loss at double the rate of other noisy industries. Over one third show signs of hearing loss according to WorkSafeBC. 

Oil & gas

Drilling and pipeline work is noisy business and according to a new report it’s taking an alarming toll on the hearing of workers in B.C.’s gas and oil industry.

In a bulletin WorkSafeBC says those oil and gas patch workers are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss at a rate of 33 per cent, over twice the rate of workers in other noisy jobs.

“It raises a few alarm bells,” said Budd Phillips, regional prevention manager with WorkSafeBC in Fort St. John. “Approximately one-third of workers were starting to show signs of noise induced hearing loss.”

WorkSafe doesn’t know if ear protection is absent, improperly used, or just inadequate for all the noise. But Phillips says companies need to do a better job making sure their employees are protected. Workers often don’t use the ear protection they are given, said Art Jarvis of Energy Services B.C. — which speaks for 1,600 companies working in B.C.’s gas patch.

“Definitely if you’re working beside a frac crew with screaming engines, that’s a noisy location,” said Jarvis.

The report is based on tests conducted in 2014 and notes that young workers are most likely to forego hearing protection devices entirely, with 27 per cent of those under-21 reporting they didn’t use hearing protection. WorkSafeBC regulations requires that employers provide workers with CSA rated hearing protection and test them annually when workplace noise exceeds a certain exposure limit. Only 15 per cent of oil and gas workers were tested in 2014.


In times of changing economy and declining high prices sector, it is very important that companies and workers take the extra precautions to ensure they are compliant with safety standards. Today workers are forced to consider job diversification, so in doing so it is important to make sure your senses are in tact. 

2016 Tradeshows

January 24, 2016

2016 Tradeshows Attended by CPE in Canada

Come out and see CPE in your local area. In 2016 we will be attending the following trade shows in Canada.

Come check out our latest products and hearing protection technology. For more information about our attendance at trade shows please email us at
Feb 1-2, 2016 
2016 Industrial Safety Seminar
Saskatoon, SK
Booth #77

About the Safety Seminar

Every year Saskatchewan’s Premier Safety event brings together hundreds of safety professionals from across North America to see the latest products, services, and information in over 100 safety and related display booths from organizations from across North America.

The 43rd Annual Industrial Safety Seminar will take place on February 1, 2, and 3, 2016 at Prairieland Exhibition Park, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. CPE Seminar will be conducted by Andy Caswell
April 11-12, 2016 Vancouver
2016 Western Conference on Safety
Hyatt Regency
Booth #35

About The 2016 Western Conference on Safety

Welcome to the 21st Annual Western Conference on Safety, Western Canada’s largest occupational health and safety event. Each year, members of the conference steering committee search throughout North America seeking out the best topics and speakers and bringing them to the Western Conference on Safety.

Last year was a great success and was the 12th year hosting the conference at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver with more than 1150 people coming out to participate.

The conference includes a blend of seminars airmed at everyone from the new safety committee member to the most experienced safety professional. With over 20 sessions, keynote presentations and an 80 booth tradeshow this conference has something for everyone.

Apr 17-19, Halifax, NS
Workplace Health & Safety Conference
Booth #407

The Human Element of Safety  

Sessions offer something for all safety professionals, from the safety committee member to the shop floor and warehouse worker.

Apr 26-27, 2016 – Mississauga, ON
Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show
Booth #713

What people say about the PIP Show

I have attended this conference both as a delegate and a presenter and have always found this conference to be top-notch in terms of the planning, venue, quality of the key note speakers and the multitude of topics covered. I would highly recommend that anyone with a vested interest in health and safety attend this conference. ~ Steve Hinds, Senior H&S Specialist, ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Post in Trailer Body Builders

January 8, 2016

Hearing protectors help combat hearing loss, improve compliance

Effective hearing protection should be comfortable, effective, and yet still enable people to talk to one another.

Custom Protect Ear’s hearing protection devices are made of a medical-grade silicone, and Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 8.28.54 AMthey are designed to be soft and flexible. The advantage of the softer devices is better comfort and function. They change shape slightly as the wearer ’s ear canal changes shape when talking or chew ing, thereby continuing to seal during those activities.

Greater comfort addresses a significant problem facing health and safety managers who oversee hearing loss prevention programs: getting people to wear hearing protection products and policing their use.

Including a filter and vent in custom ear protectors like Custom Protect Ear ’s can make speech more understandable by reducing attenuation at higher speech frequencies. This allows them to be left in while talking, and isn’t possible with typical solid foam earplugs.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article


Howard Raphael appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Custom Protect Ear, Inc.

December 15, 2015

December 15, 2015

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada (December 09, 2015) – Jeffrey Goldberg, Chairman of Custom Protect Ear (CPE), North America’s largest personalized, industrial hearing protector manufacturer, is pleased to announce that effective immediately Howard Raphael has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Custom Protect Ear, Inc..

Based in Surrey, Raphael is responsible for all aspects of operations for Custom Protect Ear, which serves over 4,500 companies and businesses around the globe. Mr. Goldberg was quoted saying “Raphael brings the Leadership skills required to guide CPE, streamline and grow its operations, and ensure that it remains a leader in hearing protection technology and systems”.

“CPE is a small company with soul that truly values it customers and partners. What sets us apart from the competition is our product, our service and our people. We are dedicated hearing conservation specialists and we continually strive to be the leader in our industry,” says Howard Raphael.

A creative and visionary leader, Raphael has been a key factor in Custom Protect Ear’s success, having held the position of General Manager with the company for 10 years prior to his current role. Raphael’s business and entrepreneurial acumen is well honed, having owned and operated 12 different companies before joining the CPE team.

About Custom Protect Ear:

Over three decades, Custom Protect Ear (CPE) has grown to be North America’s largest personalized industrial hearing protector manufacturer. CPE is the leader in providing effective, verifiable, and noise level matched hearing protection at a cost lower than alternative options. CPE devotes all of its research and expertise to the innovation of better hearing protection and has made significant technological advances. CPE serves over 4,500 companies and businesses around the globe; its certified mobile technicians do custom on-site fittings at their industrial sites. Custom Protect Ear has a registered ISO 9001: 2008 quality management system in place, which ensures CPE delivers the finest and most effective hearing protection available on the market.

For further information, please contact:

Laura Bennett
Manager, Business Development
Phone: 604-635-3250 | 1800-520-0220 ext. 322

Reducing the Risk of Hearing Loss While Ensuring Compliance

November 13, 2015

Custom hearing protection might help you meet the hearing loss prevention trifecta: Fit, comfort and communication while wearing hearing protection.

At least 4 million workers go to work each day in damaging noise and 10 million people in the United States have a noise-related hearing loss. As many as 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Occupational hearing loss is the most commonly recorded occupational illness in manufacturing accounting for one in nine recordable illnesses, according to NIOSH. Although a traumatic noise exposure may cause an immediate hearing loss in some cases, most occupational hearing losses occur so gradually that workers are unaware they are losing their hearing, adds the document. With continued exposure, the hearing loss spreads into those frequencies most needed to understand speech.

In many workplaces, disposable foam earplugs traditionally are used to block noise. However, their effectiveness depends not only on proper fit and the matching of the protector to their particular ear, but also on compliance. Do workers wear them consistently and correctly place them in their ears?

Most people wear disposable foam earplugs incorrectly, which limits their effectiveness. Each foam earplug is supposed to be rolled tightly, put deep in the ear canal then held in place with the index finger until it fully expands and the user can just see the outer edge. Instead, most people leave them hanging out of their ears.

Another challenge occurs when workers must talk in person or via two-way radio in high-noise work environments. To hear and communicate, they remove their earplugs, which exposes them to damaging noise for the duration of the conversation. Such cumulative exposure to harmful workplace noise is a leading cause of hearing loss.

People commonly remove earplugs to carry on a conversation. But if they remove them 20 percent of the time, they have reduced their effectiveness by half.

Essentially what is required to optimally protect workers is a hearing loss prevention trifecta: a device that delivers the proper fit, maximum comfort and the ability to communicate verbally or over radios without having to remove it.

To tackle the severe occupational hearing loss problem, it is helpful to consider the ideal solution, which requires allowing for all three factors.

The Hearing Protection Trifecta

First, an ideal hearing protection device would be customized to meet the needs of every employee or worker on the floor. That means fitting all ears regardless of differences in size, shape or depth. Like snowflakes, no two ears are the same – and they continue to grow throughout a person’s lifetime – so there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to hearing protection. With better fit and comfort, workers probably would wear the devices correctly and compliantly.

Second, the hearing loss prevention device would prevent high-noise sounds from entering the ear at levels that could cause instant damage or damage over time. NIOSH recommends reducing worker noise exposure to 85 dB for eight hours, but this still can leave 12-15 percent with hearing loss over their work lives.

Third, the device would prevent high-noise exposure without limiting communication, and could be worn all day. In this way, the worker could wear it the entire workday, which would eliminate the hearing damage that occurs when typical earplugs are removed in high-decibel work settings to communicate.

Fortunately, a new generation of occupational hearing protection has been designed with the trifecta of custom fit, comfort and ability to communicate while wearing.

Custom Fit Might Be the Way to Go

If you make custom hearing protection available for everyone and ensure people know how to use it, studies have shown it can reduce occupational hearing loss to near zero in industry. Unlike one-size-fits-most disposable earplugs, some cost-effective hearing protectors are fitted to the individual worker so every worker receives the same high level of hearing protection.

Such custom hearing protection can be rendered quickly and cost-efficiently in an industrial setting. Companies that make personalized industrial hearing protectors custom mold hearing protection to each worker’s ear. The companies go to the plant to take impressions of each worker’s ear canal and outer ear in a process that usually takes about 10 minutes per worker.

The custom impression is sent to the lab for processing where the device, which is an exact replica of the wearer’s ear canal and outer ear, is manufactured.  This ensures the device seals the ear both in the canal and around the ear, preventing damaging noise from entering while eliminating ear pressure. Some companies are scanning the ear impression and moving into 3D printing of the casting for even closer fit.  Company representatives then return to the plant to train workers on how to ensure proper fit and fix any that do not fit perfectly.

A custom hearing protector fit can be a key part of preventing occupational hearing loss because everyone’s outer ear and ear canal is unique.  The closer the fit, the better the function and the less people take them out to relieve ear pressure or modify them as is common with disposable foam earplugs.

Comfort and Compliance

Since these unique custom hearing protection devices are made of a medical grade silicone, they are designed to be soft and flexible. The advantage of the softer devices is better comfort and function. They change shape slightly as the wearer’s ear canal changes shape when talking or chewing, thereby continuing to seal during those activities.

Greater comfort addresses a significant problem facing health and safety managers who oversee hearing loss prevention programs: getting people to wear hearing protection products and policing their use.

Communication While Wearing Hearing Protection

Since factory workers often need to communicate in person during their work shift, they typically remove disposable earplugs to talk. Some custom hearing protection includes a filter and vent to make speech more understandable by reducing attenuation at higher speech frequencies.

Talking by two-way radio is also common in manufacturing settings. But because a radio must be louder than factory noise for a worker to hear it, it usually is the loudest sound source in the work setting and must be protected against to avoid hearing loss.

To deal with this problem, manufacturers of certain custom hearing protection devices can connect incoming radio audio to the outside of the hearing protector so the device’s filter reduces dB volume and the worker does not have to remove the hearing protector to talk on a two-way radio. Because filters “squeeze” high and low frequencies to block potentially harmful sound waves, communication comes through but harmful noise does not.

About the Author: Jeffery Goldberg is chairman of Custom Protect Ear, the largest personalized industrial hearing protector manufacturer in North America. Goldberg has been an expert in protecting the hearing of industrial workers for over 13 years. He has been an active board member for the National Hearing Conservation Association, on the ANSI WG11 working group dedicated to hearing protection standards, a member of the Canadian Standards Association Technical Committee on Noise and Vibration and chair of that committee’s sub committee crating a new Hearing Loss Prevention Program Management standard.

Article also featured on EHS Today 

Manufacturers profitably reduce hearing loss risk, ensuring compliance

November 9, 2015

The hearing loss prevention trifecta: Fit, Comfort, and Communication while wearing

To tackle the severe occupational hearing loss problem in manufacturing, a new generation of occupational hearing protection has been designed with custom fit, comfort and ability to communicate while wearing.

“Most people wear disposable foam earplugs incorrectly, which limits their effectiveness,” says John Franks, PhD, a former NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Section Chief.

“Each foam earplug is supposed to be rolled tightly, put deep in your ear canal, then held in place with your index finger until it fully expands and you can just see the outer edge. Instead, most people leave them hanging out of their ears.”

Protect Ear

Custom Protect Ear (, custom molds its dB Blockers product line to each worker’s ear. The safety Manager protectearcompany’s representatives take impressions of each worker’s ear canal and outer ear and train workers on how to ensure proper fit. Greater comfort addresses the problem facing health and safety managers of getting people to wear hearing protection and policing their use. A filter and vent in the db Blockers can make speech more understandable by reducing attenuation at higher speech frequencies.

Custom Protect Ear connects incoming radio audio to the outside of the db Blocker so the device’s filter reduces dB volume and the worker does not have to remove the hearing protector during his or her shift.

For more info, call Protect Ear USA toll-free at 1-800-520-0220 ext. 323;

Email:; or visit

In Canada, call Custom Protect Ear toll-free at 1-800-520-0220 ext 321; Fax: 604-599-7377;

Email:; or visit

Question Behind Noise

September 22, 2015
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Perhaps the Reason We Haven’t Solved the Noise Induced Hearing Loss Problem is Because We’re Not Asking the Right Questions

By Jeffery M. Goldberg,

“Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience. Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere”- Former U.S. Surgeon General William Stuart

People have known this about noise and its effects on hearing for decades and yet Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) remains epidemic in the workplaces of America. Why? Maybe as Bertrand Russell once noted,

“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

While examining why we haven’t made more progress eliminating Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) I look to our neighbours, the United States, because their development path is well defined. As early as the beginning of the last century, noise was recognized as being an industrial hazard.

Because it was difficult to measure noise at the time, NIHL was recognized but not quantified nor were any limits on exposure set. After a series of studies by the military and military sponsorship of civilian laboratories after World War II through the mid-1960s, 90 dBA was determined to definitely be a level above which actions to limit exposures were necessary. Therefore, 90 dBA was written into the U.S. Occupational Noise Standard in 1969 as part of the legislation as the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was directed to develop the rest of the regulation picking up from paragraph (c) of the legislation to define the steps necessary to form an effective hearing conservation program.

It is recognized that about one quarter of workers whose LEX,8h is above 90 dBA will develop NIHL. Albeit the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) revised its own Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) down from 90 dBA to 85 dBA and further recommended a 3-dB exchange rate instead of the earlier 5-dB exchange rate in the legislation, today the 90 dBA PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) remains in the U.S. OSHA regulation.

OSHA set an action level of 85 dBA that includes exposed workers in a hearing conservation program and the use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) for those workers who had shown a change in hearing that could be attributed to noise exposure.

There is more to the history of NIHL regulation in North America. In 1979 the U.S. EPA issued a regulation that required HPD attenuation value be placed on the packaging of all HPDs sold in the United States (this means the same information appears in Canada as the product sold in Canada is mainly the US product). This “required HPD attenuation” is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that was to be used by Audiologists and Industrial Hygienists to determine if the HPD’s noise reduction would be adequate to reduce protected exposure levels to below the PEL.

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

The problem was that, although Audiologists and industrial hygienists now had this new NRR for selecting HPDs matched to noise exposures, workers still continued to lose their hearing. Study after study comparing NRRs to attenuation actually achieved by those wearing the protection yielded considerable discrepancies. Finally, in 1994, a study published by Berger (Aearo, now 3M), Franks (NIOSH ret), and Lindgren (GN Netcom) compiled the data from 22 previous studies from the prior 20 years and conclusively showed that there was hardly any relation between the NRR and the protection workers actually received.1 Further, studies of the HPD-using noise-exposed workers found that they continued to get NIHL. The OSHA directed programs were merely documenting the development of NIHL, not preventing it. One union official referred to this asaudiometric voyeurism.

There was a wide discrepancy between what laboratories determined for the NRR as the attenuation potential of a hearing protector and what users were achieving in practice. Why?

Set aside, the consideration of whether the PEL/exchange-rate should be 90 dBA/5 dB or 85 dBA/3 dB. For years the most prevalent thinking concerning the ineffectiveness of HPDs has been the problem of matching earplugs and earmuffs with a particular wearer’s ears. Once the best match HPDs had been selected, a wearer needed to be taught how to fit them properly. The Industry began Fit Testing with the development of Fit Check in 1995.2 Three decades of pursuing this course has had relatively little effect on the problem. In fact, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, an associate professor in the Department of Environment and Occupational Health at the University of Washington, has studied one of the leading users of Fit Testing systems, Alcoa, for years. Dr. Rabinowitz saw no change in outcomes of Alcoa’s hearing conservation program as a result of Fit Testing. Maybe fitting the protector is not entire problem.

Unpublished research conducted by a branch of the U.S. Military has shown an inability to trigger preliminary hearing loss with even a minuscule amount of hearing protection. What does that mean? It might mean the weight we have been placing on matching attenuation to noise exposure is less important than we thought in preventing NIHL. Is it possible we’ve been asking ourselves the wrong question?

Instead of asking ourselves, How do we get people to wear their hearing protection?” we should be asking,“Why aren’t people using their hearing protection to greatest effect?” Sadly, a panel of experts at the recent National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) conference observed that they were not aware of any research into the topic of the causes of NIHL either ongoing or planned.

In trying to puzzle out this conundrum, I recalled a speech given by Dr. Barry Blesser to the NHCA in 2011 on the reason people play their music players at the volumes they do. Dr. Blesser cited the primacy of hearing in the ordering of our senses. As Dr. Blesser pointed out

  • Hearing is the only fully formed sense we are born with
  • It operates 24/7/365 – we have no ear lids
  • It acts to warn us of danger before any other sense because it works around corners in 360 degrees.

Is it possible that what prevents us from using Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) correctly is the protection itself? Unlike any other PPE, HPDs typically work by partially disabling the sense it seeks to protect. By disconnecting us from our surroundings, reducing or eliminating the effectiveness of our hearing in a noisy, dangerous, environment, we create a situation the human may be “hard wired” to perceive as unsafe.

The deck of an aircraft carrier during flight operations is one of the noisiest places on earth. Sound levels can reach 150 dB. Flight crews exposed to those levels are mandated to wear earplugs, inside an earmuff, inside a helmet (the helmet is not impact protection. It reduces “bone conduction”; the tendency of the bones of the skull to conduct sound to the ears). It is well known that workers in high noise are easier to protect than workers in moderate noise; they seem to take noise more seriously. But, given this dangerously noisy environment, why do airmen sometimes leave out their earplugs. Anecdotally, the expression used by flight crews to explain their actions “deaf is better than dead” implies that sense of life-threatening danger outweighs the sense to protect one’s hearing. Could this be a more prevalent than we have heretofore imagined?

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Is it possible we have undervalued our need to hear when safety is at issue?

Let’s presume, for a moment, that we have. What would hearing protection that allowed us to hear safety be? We know that most industrial noise is in certain frequency ranges. If these are not the same frequencies humans’ use for speech, then we should be able to create hearing protection that passes “speech frequencies” and blocks noise. In this way we could control the loudness with which our ear perceives our environment and set a separate level for interpersonal communication. As well, we could facilitate other forms of communication through use of radios, like 2-way or cell phones, while still keeping industrial noise at a safe level. Would this make a difference as to how users wore their hearing protection?

I’d like to quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s protagonist Dr. Watson in his Sherlock Holmes novels. Dr. Watson was fond of saying,

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains,

however improbable, must be the truth.”

We take intelligent individuals, teach them to operate sophisticated machinery, and they create precision parts repeatedly to exacting tolerances. Why would these same individuals not be able to master the process of inserting and earplug or wearing an earmuff correctly? In an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2002, Dov Zohar of the Technion – Israel institute of Technology showed how interventions by supervisors, managers, and even executives did modify workers behavior to improve hearing protection use (and thereby Hearing Loss Prevention program outcomes).3

We can improve hearing loss prevention program outcomes. It requires the commitment of the organization to change behaviour. It starts with removing as much of the noise as possible and protecting against the rest. It requires facilitating functional hearing protection options. And it requires persistence and perseverance but it can be done. I know. I’ve seen it work.


  1. Berger EH, Franks JR, and Lindgren FL.  International review of field studies of hearing protector attenuation. Presented at the 5th International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Hearing, Gothenburg, Sweden, May 1994.
  2. Developed by Dr. Kevin Michael of Michael and Associates
  3. Zohar D. Modifying supervisory practices to improve subunit safety: A leadership-based intervention model. J Appl Psychol 2002;87(1)156–63.

Read Full Article 

Can Hockey Playoffs Harm your Hearing?

Excessive exposure to loud sounds is the leading cause of preventable hearing loss, and most cases of noise induced hearing loss are due to occupational exposure. The importance of hearing protection in the workplace is now well recognized, and most industries in North America have programs and regulations in place to ensure the hearing health of their workers. Far less attention has been paid to auditory damage caused by noise outside of work. With the popularity of loud devices, such as MP3 players and cellular telephones, and noisy activities, such as rock concerts and sporting events, everyday life is increasingly hazardous to hearing for all members of society. Therefore, there is a growing need to increase awareness of potential sources of damaging sounds and education about the use of hearing protection during leisure pursuits.

get Loud

Report – Can Hockey Playoffs Harm your Hearing?

This report illustrates the impact that even brief exposure to leisure noise can have on an individual’s hearing, through the example of a Stanley Cup final hockey game. The success that the Edmonton Oilers enjoyed during the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs electrified the city. It was suggested in the media that the arena used by the team was one of the loudest buildings in the National Hockey League, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation demonstrated noise levels at certain times during broadcasts with the use of a sound level meter. Although measuring sound levels at key points is informative, what matters most is the exposure of a given individual over the course of the entire game and the effects of that exposure on the person’s  hearing.
To measure cumulative sound exposure, the second author wore a noise dosimeter to games 3, 4 and 6 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes. The effect on the hearing function of the second author and his wife was measured by audiological testing immediately before and after game 3.


Noise measurement

A data-logging noise dosimeter was set to sample the noise level near the second author’s ear every second for the entire game. Thus, no matter where he was in the building, the dosimeter sampled his noise exposure.

Audiometric tests

Two audiometric tests were used for the pre and postgame measures: pure tone audiometry and otoacoustic emissions. Both tests were performed in a double walled audiometric booth by a licensed audiologist using

Go to: calibrated equipment. For the puretone audiometry test, we measured the softest pure tone that could be detected (threshold) at the following frequencies: 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 8000 Hz. The distortion production otoacoustic emissions test assesses the integrity of the outer hair cells of the inner ear. The outer hair cells are important for detecting soft sounds and allow tolerance of a wide range of input intensities. Unfortunately, outer hair cells are usually the first structures to be damaged by exposure to loud noise.


Noise data

During game 3 of the series, the scoring of goals led to fairly obvious spikes in the noise level (Fig. 1). A level of 120 dB A is roughly equivalent to the sound level of a jet taking flight. (Aweighting
is a filtering function applied to the noise dosimeter so that it is sensitive to input frequencies in the same way as the typical adult ear is.) The intermissions offered a temporary reprieve for the ears, but even during those interludes, the noise level was such that in an equivalent 8 h/day workplace environment, hearing protection would be required by law.
Fig. 1: Noise exposure level for the duration of game 3 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals. Key points of interest are indicated. The red line at 90 dB indicates a derived “safe” level of this 3hour game. Sounds above the line have the potential …

The average exposure levels for each game (> 3 hours) were 104.1, 100.7 and 103.1 dB. Standards have been defined for maximum allowable daily noise doses, and an average level of 85 dB A for 8 hours is generally considered the maximum allowable daily noise dose. Stated differently, this means that there is a risk of hearing damage if you experience that level of noise for more than 8 hours. For each 3 dB increase in average noise level, the time you can safely stay at a level is halved. Thus, at 88 dB, it would take only 4 hours to reach the maximum allowable daily noise dose, at 91 dB it would take only 2 hours, and so on. For the levels experienced in game 3 of the series, the time to reach the maximum allowable daily noise dose was less than 6 minutes. In terms of
projected noise dose, each person in the arena not wearing hearing protection received about 8100% of their daily allowable noise dose. Given that most fans do not wear hearing protection during hockey games, thousands are at risk for hearing damage.

Audiometric data

Puretone audiometric data indicated that the hearing thresholds of both subjects deteriorated by 5 to 10 dB for most frequencies. The biggest changes occurred at 4000 Hz (the frequency known to be most susceptible to noise damage), where subject 2 experienced a temporary threshold shift in one ear of 20 dB. Whereas 5 to 10 dB may be within the test–retest confidence limits of puretone audiometry, 20 dB represents a real change in hearing status. It is important to note that this temporary threshold shift usually disappears in a day or two. However, if the ears are subjected to further noise exposure before full recovery, the temporary threshold shift may become
permanent. According to the oto acoustic emissions data, subject 1 experienced a decrease in the strength of the outer hair cell responses. Consistent with the puretone results, the decrease was more pronounced at higher frequencies. For subject 2, the otoacoustic emissions were so strong both before and after the game that any decrease in emissions might have been masked by an equipment ceiling effect. Both subjects described the world as sounding muffled
after the games, and both experienced mild ringing tinnitus.


Most people do not consider the risk of excessive noise exposure when participating in leisure activities. However, as this brief report shows, leisure noise over a period of a few hours can be harmful if precautions are not taken. The risk of hearing loss for those who attend hockey games frequently (e.g., season ticket holders, arena workers and the hockey players themselves) warrants serious consideration. Even the cheapest foam earplugs will attenuate sounds by about 25 to 30 dB. At the levels experienced during these hockey games, such earplugs would drop the average sound exposure to below 80 dB, where no hearing damage is likely to occur (even if the game were to go into quadruple overtime). And, contrary to popular belief, communication in noisy environments is actually easier with earplugs than without. The 2 most common symptoms of excessive noise exposure are hearing loss and tinnitus, both of which can have a substantial negative impact on quality of life. We live in an increasingly clamorous world, and many of our occupations and leisure activities are potentially hazardous to hearing. More than ever before, there is a need to
broaden awareness and better educate everyone about the need to protect hearing, both at work and at play.

Read Full Article.

By William E. Hodgetts and Richard Liu
From the Departments of Speech Pathology and Audiology (Hodgetts) and of Otolaryngology (Liu), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.; and the Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Caritas Health Group (Hodgetts), Edmonton, Alta.

Copyright © 2006 CMA Media Inc. or its licensors. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

2015 CPE Tradeshows

April 21, 2015

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

Come see us at the following shows. Remember to tweet us and let us know you’re coming. @protectear #cpe

April 28-29
PIP 2015
International Centre, Mississauga, ON
Booth #713

April 28-30
2015 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference
Evraz Place, Regina, Sk

May 5-7
Enform Petroleum Safety Conference
Banff, AB

May 6, 2015
Safety Expo
Oromocto, NB

June 14-15
2015 BC Municipal Health & Safety Conference
Whistler Conference Center, Whistler

Sept 20-23
CSSE 2015 PDC & Exhibition
Ottawa, ON

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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™


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

Call us today! CALL 1800-520-0220