Not fitting earplugs correctly is a major contributor to noise induced hearing loss (NIHL).
PowerSoft™ Foam Technology is a proprietary polyurethane foam formulation that results in ear plugs with optimally-sized cell structures that expand gently and evenly inside the ear canal. This translates to all-day comfort with excellent attenuation.
Come in various shapes, sizes and materials, some being design advancements and others simply marketing gimmicks. Older style earplugs were made from PVC Foam materials.
These plugs had a porous surface which tended to become dirty from finger contact or a dusty environment. More recent versions of earplugs are made from Polyurethane which has a smoother sealed surface restricting the adhesion of dirt or body oils from handling.
Disposable earplugs require rolling down to insert properly (to attain the earplugs’ tested attenuation protection) into the ear canal. Importantly, if you can see more than a quarter of the earplug sticking out of the wearer’s ear, then the plug is not inserted correctly. Incorrect fitting means that the earplug does not ‘seat down’ the required distance into the ear canal, therefore not reducing the noise level entering the ear drum by the intended (attenuation) amount.
A poorly inserted 23dB SLC80 rated earplug could be providing a diminished protection attenuation as low as 8 to 12dB due to incorrect insertion.
Unfortunately, this is a very common problem among earplug users. An ageing workforce can pose challenges with gaining the correct earplug insertion as the ear canal changes shape over time. (Ear Canal diameter can become smaller, also can twist or bend, as well as become difficult to enter due to increased hair growth or wax build-up).
You can conduct a quick earplug fit test once they have been inserted and had enough time to create a contact seal inside the ear canal. By cupping your hand over each ear, make sure to gain as tight of a seal as possible. If fitted correctly, the noise level should not vary noticeably between the cupped hands over the ears or without.
Hybrid Earpods are a more recent innovation and by design help with the fitting challenges noted above. The addition of an insertion stem in the centre of the Polyurethane Foam plug assists with ease of correct fitment. Most styles are designed to not require any pre insertion roll down, thus eliminating the potential of contact on the earplug surface with soiled fingertips.
Another major advantage of the Hybrid Ear Pod is the ability to insert the protector deep into the ear canal, gaining the most suitable fitment for maximum attenuation benefit. This fitting advantage over traditional roll down earplugs almost guarantees the wearer will be achieving the full SLC80 attenuation rating as tested for the Ear Pod protector. As the Ear Pods are made from grime resistant Polyurethane and are not required to be touched by fingers, they can be reused with a visual check on each insertion until becoming soiled or damaged.
CHOICES FOR ALL WORKERS
All workers want: protection, comfort and easy fit. The key to achieving optimal protection is making sure your earplugs are fitted correctly into the ear canal.
PowerSoft™ T-Fit earplugs are designed for easy handling, fit and long-term wear.
PowerSoft™ EZ-Twist Hybrid earplugs combine comfort with convenience, hygiene and ease-of use. Try them for yourself!
To request a sample pack of PowerSoft™ T-Fit and EZ-Twist earplugs, contact your local CSS member store.