Approximately 24% of American adults and 17% of teenagers show signs of an irreversible condition known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). At Community Audiology Services in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dr. Patricia Randolph offers custom-made earplugs for protection against this type of hearing loss. For more information on how custom earplugs can protect your hearing, call Community Audiology Services or schedule an appointment online today.request an appointment
Earplugs are used for a variety of reasons including preventing loud sounds from damaging the ear, keeping water from entering the ear while showering or swimming, or preventing earphones from falling out of the ear while listening to music.
Why wear noise reduction earplugs?
Several factors can lead to hearing loss, especially damage to the inner ear from exposure to loud noises. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can occur from a single loud noise or continuous exposure to loud noise over time.
Exposure to loud noise can damage the inner ear’s receptive cells. This damage interferes with the ear’s ability to send signals to the brain. This can detrimentally impact one’s ability to hear and understand speech and could result in social isolation. In some cases, NIHL can occur suddenly or develop slowly over time. Therefore, it is essential to protect one’s hearing by reducing exposure to loud noises or by wearing hearing protection such as the custom-made earplugs offered by Dr. Randolph at Community Audiology Services.
What are custom earplugs?
There are several types of custom earplugs including those that keep most sound out of the ear or allow for a limited amount of sound to pass through the ear. Dr. Randolph specializes in custom earplugs for individuals who need to protect their hearing while retaining the ability to hear most of what occurs in their surroundings.
Custom earplugs require that the audiologist makes an impression of the outer ear, which includes the ear canal. This impression is used to make custom earplugs that can be modified to meet varied attenuation requirements. For example, noise or music can be attenuated between 9 dB and 30 dB depending on specific needs. Hence, custom earplugs are not only more comfortable than the traditional one-size-fits-all options, they are more effective in accomplishing specific attenuation needs.
Who needs custom earplugs?
Custom earplugs provide hearing protection for anyone in noisy environments, including:
- Airline/airport workers
- Motorcyclists and snowmobilers
- Construction and factory workers
- Hunters and target shooters
- Concert goers
Dr. Randolph creates custom ear molds by examining the patient’s ear to rule out an obstruction or abnormality. Next she uses impression material to obtain a replica of the ear canal and the concave portion of the outer ear. Once the material solidifies, one-of-a-kind, custom molds can be made to fit the unique patient.
In addition to protecting against noise-induced hearing loss, custom earplugs are also beneficial for swimmers and people who need to keep water out of their ears. To learn more about custom earplugs, call Community Audiology Services or schedule an appointment online today.