Monthly Archives: July 2019

How to Find Calm in a Noisy World

July 30, 2019

Our world today involves constant noise and interruptions.

Whether it is traffic and sirens in the city, lawnmowers and overhead planes in the suburbs, the hum and noise of the refrigerator and dishwasher, or the ringing of our cell phones, it is all hard to escape.


We have become so accustomed to daily noise that without it we feel unproductive.  While we become used to these sounds and can often ignore them, unfortunately, they are affecting our health in both physical and mental ways.


Health Hazards of Noise

The American Speech Language Hearing Association estimates that 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous noise levels on a regular basis and that number continues to rise yearly.  Constant exposure to traffic and overhead plane noise is causing injuries to the hair cells in our ears by “knocking them down.” These hair cells are how we transmit sound to our brains.  Hair cells can recover if we avoid noise and give them a chance to restore themselves back to normal.

Researchers have found that the stress of constant noise increases blood pressure, heart rate and the release of our stress hormones.  When we are startled by sounds, it can cause a surge of cortisol, adrenaline and other stress hormones that create that fight or flight reaction in our bodies.   There have even been links found between constant noise and diabetes, respiratory disorders and cancer.   Even though we adapt to screen out noises over time, they are still affecting our nervous systems, whether we are consciously bothered by them or not.  Our annoyance of the racket has been associated with depression and anxiety issues.  The noise disturbs our sleep, affects our ability to focus, can cause unhealthy food choices and ups our stress level; all things that can contribute to heart disease.


How to Combat All That Noise

Thankfully, there are strategies to help us deal with noise.

  • Taking time for a walk in nature is a great way to alleviate all that loudness.  The sounds we hear in nature like birds, rustling leaves and the sounds of the ocean waves have the opposite effect of the noises we hear on a daily basis.  They are calming and lower our stress levels, helping us to focus more clearly.
  • Meditation is another excellent way to calm the clanging.  Through meditation, we can learn to acknowledge the sound as just another sound and let us avoid being so riled up by the noise.
  • At night, the use of a sound machine, a humidifier or other form of white noise can help cancel out loud sounds, especially for those of us who live in the city where there can be constant traffic and noise late at night.

The use of ear plugs at night can also help block outside noise as well as the snoring of our spouses.  Some options of hearing protection include personal custom hearing protection like dB Life and dB Blockers. dB stands for decibel blockers and they do exactly that. dB Blockers™ offer “The Smartest Hearing Protection in the World” especially where interpersonal communication is required. dB Blockers™ are custom fit to each individual wearer for maximum comfort and are made from Skinsoft™ medical silicone. dB Blockers™ are particularly suited for industrial applications where communication between individuals is desired. These hearing protectors can be worn for a complete shift, without the need to remove them to talk on the phone, eat or relieve pressure. A must for all hearing conservation programs.

Only dB Blockers offer superior hearing protection while enabling individuals to communicate clearly with each other. Learn More. 

Another option is noise-cancelling headphones which help reduce outside noise so you we can listen to music or television at a quieter level.  Recapturing some peace and quiet will help improve our health and those jangled nerves.  It is okay to feel a sense of calm and stillness in our lives and we will probably find ourselves to be even more productive.

Either way – whatever option you choose, just choose something to find calm in a loud noisy world 


Tonia DeCosimo, Entrepreneur, Author, Columnist & Host

dB Blockers Want You to Protect your Hearing this Summer

July 23, 2019

Every season brings about new and traditional events that are mainly planned around weather and special occasions.

Summer is one season where people cannot get enough of outdoor activities such as swimming, motorcycling, outdoor music festivals, fire works and celebrations.  All these summer adventures come with some risk to a person’s hearing health. It is no secret that Summer months are generally the peak season for noise pollution.



People needing their Vitamin D and fresh air add to the heightened noise we encounter during this time. Other common activities contributing to noise pollution are:

  • Construction sites are more active
  • Paving and road maintenance typically done during the good weather
  • Increased traffic around common gathering areas
  • Outdoor Music events
  • Public gatherings in parks and recreation areas
  • Sports venues
  • Longer daylight hours that keep people active later


Summer Hearing Protection

As North America’s largest personalized industrial custom hearing protector manufacturer, hearing conservation is our only business. Custom Protect Ear (CPE) cares about hearing health for workers and individuals alike.   

So, to better equip you for a noisy summer, we wanted to share some of our favourite hearing protection styles:


dB Life™ Sweet Tones Musicians Earpieces

dB Life™ Sweet Tones Musicians Earpieces

Great for those outdoor concerts

dB Life™ Sweet Tones Musicians Earpieces are hearing protectors that reduce all frequencies equally by 9 dB, 15 dB or 25 dB with corresponding Flat Attenuation Filters. It is designed for musicians or concertgoers who want to hear music without distortion but with less volume.

dB Life™ Swimmers


Great for swimming in oceans,  lakes and pools

The dB Life™ Swimmers are ear plugs designed for individuals who wish to avoid getting water in their ears. They are made from a special formula of silicones, custom blended to allow them to float. Note: This is not a hearing protector.


dB Life™ All Sport – Earpiece and Headset

Great for biking, hiking, cycling or just working out

The dB Life™ All Sport earpieces and headset are designed to be comfortably worn under a helmet. Whether biking, skiing, snow boarding, cycling or pumping iron, ALLSPORT™ products offer the noise isolation and comfort of the dB Life™ custom earpiece and high-fidelity stereo sound from your digital music player (iPod compatible) or bike sound system.

dB Life™ Sleepers – Vented or Non-Vented

dB Blocker Discreet Non VenteddB Blocker Discreet vented

Great for Traveling and or Camping

The dB Life™ Sleepers are is much quieter than exposing your ears to the noise you are trying to sleep in.  Sleepers reduce the ambient sound about 20 dB.  They still let you hear the smoke alarm, telephone, clock radio alarm, and baby crying.  We wouldn‘t want it any other way.

dB Life™ Discreet Vented

dB Blocker Discreet custom fit hearing protection are a low profile option where conversation is also required. Used in hospitality and air travel where noise is an issue.

dB Blocker™ Classic Vented


Great for everyday wear in noisy environments!

The dB Blocker™ Classic Vented and filtered hearing protector (earplug) is designed for situations where interpersonal conversation in noise is required without removing the protector.

So there you have it – these are some of our favorite hearing protection devices that allow people to get through the summer without  incurring damage to their hearing. We also carry hearing protection for Security and Industrial sectors as well as communication devices.

Learn more about Custom Protect Ear’s Hearing Protection Products 

A Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

July 9, 2019

by Stephen Yontz, President of FitHearing, LLC

Hearing loss affects over 48 million people in the U.S., according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, and puts them at greater risk for cognitive decline and even dementia. The age group affected by the greatest amount of hearing loss are those between 60-69 years old.

Dr. Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore says, “The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging.” However, recent findings suggest that it may play a much more important role in brain health than we’ve previously thought, he added.

There have been recent, well-regarded studies that support the possibility that treating hearing loss more aggressively could aid in the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Dr. Lin has authored several recent studies that aim to link hearing and cognitive problems that range from mild impairment all the way to dementia. He and other researchers have theories about an explanation for the link between the two, though they are not sure which will prove true.

The Search for Connections

A 2013 study led by Dr. Lin and his colleagues tracked the overall cognitive abilities of memory, concentration, and planning skills of almost 2,000 people with an average age of 77. Over six years, participants who began the study with hearing loss severe enough that it interfered with their conversation were 24 percent more likely to see their cognitive abilities diminish than those with normal hearing. The researchers found that hearing loss seemed to hasten age-related cognitive decline.

In 2011, Dr. Lin and his colleagues studied the cognitive health of 639 mentally sharp people in a study that focused on dementia. The volunteers’ mental abilities were tested regularly, with many participating for about 12 years and others for as many as 18 years.

The notable results showed that the worse the initial hearing loss was, the more likely the participant was to develop dementia. When compared to people with normal hearing, the risk was three times as great for those with moderate hearing loss.

Another study offers more hope still. Led by Isabelle Mosnier of Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris in France and published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, March 2015, the study consisted of a group of 94 people ages 65-85 with profound deafness in at least one ear. Each of the participants received a cochlear implant followed by auditory rehabilitation twice a week. Those with the lowest cognitive scores showed remarkable improvement one year after implantation.

While the study had shortcomings, “the improvement in cognition was huge — about double that seen with any of the current [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] FDA drugs for treating Alzheimer’s,” says P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D. The professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and coauthor of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan also theorizes that the findings about hearing loss affecting cognitive function could also apply to other senses, like vision, smell, and touch. “Studies have shown that uncorrected vision problems raise the risk for dementia,” he says.


Possible Connections Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

Some doctors hesitate to acknowledge a connection between disabling hearing loss and cognitive decline and dementia, but more and more healthcare professionals are accepting the possibility. “Every doctor knows that hearing loss can result in cognitive problems, but they still don’t focus on it as a priority when they evaluate someone with suspected dementia — which is a big missed opportunity,” Doraiswamy says.

“The benefits of correcting hearing loss on cognition are twice as large as the benefits from any cognitive-enhancing drugs now on the market. It should be the first thing we focus on.

Dr. Lin suggests four possible ways hearing loss might contribute to cognitive decline and dementia. The first is a condition like high blood pressure: a common physiological pathway that contributes to both, but he and other researchers used statistical methods to take into account the factors known to be associated with both conditions, so Lin does not have much confidence in this explanation.

The second possibility has to with “cognitive load,” or the effort of constantly straining to understand puts stress on the brain. Intuitively, this connection makes sense.

Arthur Wingfield, professor of neuroscience at Brandeis University, explains, “If you put in a lot of effort just to comprehend what you’re hearing, it takes resources that would otherwise be available for encoding [what you hear] in memory.” His lab’s research has documented this effect on a short-term basis. He questions if whether years of drawing resources away from brain functions such as working memory will eventually reduce the brain’s resilience.

A third possibility, proposed by both Wingfield and Lin, suggests that hearing loss might affect brain structure in a way that contributes to cognitive problems. It has been found that older adults with hearing loss have less gray matter in the part of the brain that receives and processes sounds, according to Wingfield. Certain brain cells shrink in the absence of constant stimuli. Wingfield then raises the question whether getting clearer speech signals to the brain through use of a modern hearing aid might allow these brain structures to recover their previous size and function.

Lastly, it is likely that social isolation plays a part. Having disabling hearing loss tends to isolate people from their friends and family. The constant struggle to follow conversation often makes hard of hearing people not want to socialize in groups. Social isolation has been infamously recognized as a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia.


Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

It will certainly take more research in the coming years to pinpoint the factors associated. Can state-of-the-art treatment prevent or delay cognitive decline and dementia, Dr. Lin wonders? He and his team have received funds from the National Institute of Health to plan and develop a definitive clinical trial to monitor a large group of older adults with hearing loss. Half of the participants will receive best-practice hearing treatment and the other half will get what Dr. Lin calls “watchful waiting.” The study will track the participants’ cognitive functions, with results available in 2020 at the earliest.

If you have hearing loss, Dr. Lin believes that one should get the best treatment available, as it can also take into account your mental health and cognitive ability as well. There is much room for improvement, though, as fewer than 15 to 20 percent of those with a clinically significant hearing loss even use hearing aids.


About the Author

Stephen Yontz is Founder and President of FitHearing – a new-patient referral service for local practices with a focus on maintaining and valuing professional Audiology and hearing care, while serving an emerging market for price-shopping, informed hearing aid consumers. He is Co-Owner and Director of Operations for an Audiology practice in Nashville, TN, and shortly after assuming this role, he recognized a need for the support of those patients that are not willing to pay the “seemingly” high price for traditional hearing care – those that inevitably seek alternative solutions that do not meet the basic needs of a person suffering from hearing loss.  

He believes that as an industry we are largely falling short in terms of serving our customer with innovative and alternative solutions to meet everyone’s hearing health and financial needs.  FitHearing offers patients the option to purchase the latest and greatest hearing aids at very affordable prices, while integrating the vital care of a local Audiologist or hearing specialist as a means for the patient to receive proper programming, fitting, counseling, and adjustments of his/her hearing aids.  

Stephen is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, with an M.S. Mechanical Engineering and an MBA.  Stephen lives with his wife and two cats in Nashville, TN, where he spends his spare time playing golf, “picking at” his guitar, going to the movies, exercising, and trying new foods.  Truthfully, he spends most of his time thinking of new ways to serve the hearing industry and develop innovative solutions for the future generations of hearing aid users.