My maternal Grandmother worked in a paper factory for 15 years before she retired. This was in the late fifties and early sixties before the idea of workers wearing protective gear including earplugs existed. Her hearing was damaged due to the noise and by the time she passed away almost 18 years later she was nearly totally deaf. So hearing protection devices is something I care about a lot. For her wearing earplugs at work wasn’t an option, but today they are. Still many times those who need them most don’t wear them. One such group are soldiers in the field, who should wear earplugs to protect their hearing from the sound of gunfire and explosions. However they often refuse because they also need to hear what is going on around them. This is also true of musicians and construction workers who often work in noise environments
Etymotic the company that pioneered in ear headphones in 1983, is attempting to solve this problem with the EB-series of electronic BlastPLG™ Earplugs which won a CES 2011 inovation award in the Health and Wellness Category There are two models of BlastPLG Earplugs, one the EB15 is for some one who is around constant loud noise such as heavy equipment or vehicles. The EB15 circuitry adapts to the environment to become a 15-dB earplug when the environmental noise could cause hearing damage. It then returns to natural hearing when the noise level is back to normal. The EB1 is for someone who maybe faced with a sudden loud noise such as a hunter, but otherwise is in a normal hearing environment. The EB15 has a MSRP of $499 a pair and the EB1 have a MSRP of $449 a pair. The idea behind both these models is to allow the user to hear normal sounds around them while protecting them from noise that may damage their hearing. Hopefully someone will use these earplugs and save their hearing, unfortunately hearing loss often happens over a long period of time and is often not noticed until it is almost too late.