E.A.R., Inc. Announces New EarPlugz-PC™
A Low-Cost, High-Performance Earplug with Removable Pop Cords!
March 2011, BOULDER, CO. We asked many of our key retailers “What features would you like to see in a new generic-type hearing protection product?” and were told the following:
- Anything that minimizes the daily expense for disposables would be appreciated.
- Have different sizes to accommodate different sized ears.
- Make them easy to fit, use and keep clean.
- Corded plugs are expensive — include a reusable cord.
- Provide option to have plugs be metal detectable as required by food industry.
- Consider bulk packaging for economy.
- Minimize or eliminate the expense of unnecessary packaging which is often just thrown away.
- Have acceptable Noise Reduction Ratings (NRRs).
In response to these concerns, we created and field-tested our new EarPlugz-PC™ which were very well received!
EarPlugz-PC™ come with a reusable, removable “Pop Cord”. They are available in 3 sizes (Large, Medium and Small). With proper care (soap and water, no solvents) these plugs are expected to last 6-12 months. Color choices are orange and black. Available in individual packaging or bulk packaging of 50 sets per bag (with cords, metal inserts, pouches, and instructions separate).
With EarPlugz-PC™ , E.A.R., Inc. has created a product that provides maximum flexibility for both end users and delivery systems engaged with generic hearing protection.
NRR: 28 when used as directed.
Soldiers benefit from high-tech earplugs
Source: Boulder County Business Report
Author: Lyla D. Hamilton BOULDER – Healthy hearing is among the casualties of war.
Fifteen percent of the American veterans who began accepting disability compensation in fiscal 2008 had service-connected tinnitus (noises in the ear) or hearing loss. The tab for these taxpayer-funded benefits exceeds a billion dollars annually.
Boulder-based Environmental Acoustical Research Inc. offers a $25 solution: the Hear
-DF. This new hearing protection device features dual acoustical filters to suppress noise. While protecting their hearing, combatants can hear others speak and even communicate via two-way radio or cell phone.
In 2009, Occupational Health & Safety magazine named the HearDefenders-DF the new product of the year in the hearing protection category.
“Those serving in the military aren’t wearing the hearing protection that’s provided because it doesn’t fit well, and it keeps them from hearing voices or other warning sounds,” said Garry Gordon, E.A.R.’s chief executive.
“When an attack occurs,” he noted, “there’s no time to put on hearing protection.”
The HearDefenders-DF’s patent-pending filtering system adjusts to the level of noise in the environment. It protects the wearer from both the continuous noise of a helicopter or other engine and impact noise such as gunfire or the detonation of an improvised explosive device, or IED.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, an Apache helicopter pilot experiences noise at 104 decibels. Eight hours of unprotected exposure to that volume of noise can cause serious hearing impairment. Detonation of an IED, with noise levels at 140 decibels or more, can rupture an eardrum or cause permanent tinnitus.
Field-tested in Afghanistan, the HearDefenders-DF earned a thumbs-up rating from American troops. “Data presented a year ago at the American Academy of Audiology looked good,” Gordon said. “But we needed to know whether ‘Mikey’ liked it.”
To reach the military market, E.A.R. is negotiating contracts with the General Services Administration, the federal government’s centralized procurement system.
E.A.R.’s network of independent representatives also includes retired service personnel who have introduced the device at various military procurement offices and testing locations.
E.A.R. also sells to the armed forces in Canada, Australia, Turkey, Great Britain and Japan. Gordon said that distribution of the HearDefenders-DF in Europe “is coming online” as the company seeks appropriate certification there.
Customers include industrial and consumer users worldwide. Industries in which hearing loss is an occupational hazard include agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation, utilities and law enforcement. Audio engineers, entertainers and hospitality employees who work in noisy environments are also at risk.
Field testing of the HearDefenders-DF in industrial markets has yielded positive results, Gordon said, noting especially that the company had been in touch with pilots and crews on oil rigs.
Gordon said the recreational market is currently the company’s largest segment. Users of its earplugs include firearms enthusiasts, snowmobilers and motorcyclists.
“Even football players need filtered earplugs,” he said, citing the noise levels exceeding 100 decibels that buffeted the Minnesota Vikings in a recent game.
Among consumers, personal recommendations foster sales. “We sell a pair of earplugs to a trap shooter, who then tells his friends about it because they have the same problem,” he said.
Actor and gun owner Tom Selleck has given E.A.R. products visibility on television. In addition, the company works with the U.S. Olympics shooting team. Consumers often take the product to their corporate safety or medical officer, Gordon said, which generates leads for industrial sales of the earplugs.
Gordon anticipates sales of 1 million to 2 million HearDefenders-DF sets in the first year, moving quickly to five or 10 times that annually.
He characterized the recent product of the year award as “a big deal” for the small, family-owned business. “The recognition and market awareness help us compete with the likes of 3M Co.,” he explained.
One subsidiary of that Minnesota-based conglomerate focuses on hearing protection and offers the Combat Arms earplug for military applications.
Other competitors include Norway-based Nacre AS. The U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps have all purchased hearing protection devices from Nacre. Purchasers of the company’s QuietPro or QuietPro+ also include the French Special Forces, the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces and the Norwegian Army.
HearDefenders-DF units, which come in three sizes and various colors, are available at E.A.R.’s website and through 2,500 distribution points that include audiologists, industrial medicine practitioners and industrial safety experts.
E.A.R., incorporated in 1994, has been in Boulder for almost four decades. Its recent expansion included modest hiring and took the company’s footprint to more than 4,000 square feet. The local operation houses corporate functions and serves as a distribution point. Laboratories in Pennsylvania and Florida manufacture the hearing protection products.
New Product of the Year Award!
Can you hear me now?
Reviewed by Shadow
Many of my friends who ride long distances use earplugs to protect their hearing when they’re on the road. I didn’t consider using them until I developed tinnitus, a condition that results in the perception of sound–whining, buzzing, ringing, clicking, whooshing or any number of other noises–within the ear in the absence of any outside sound. More than one medical professional has advised me that tinnitus is an indication of permanent hearing damage, and that if I don’t take steps to protect my hearing, it can get much worse than it already is.
In recent years, I’ve tried various types of earplugs, all without much success. None of the foam earplugs, even the self-adjusting ones, stay positioned properly inside my ear, and as a result I lose them at an alarming rate. Silicone earplugs that can be molded to the inside of my ears fare only slightly better because, as with the foam ones, I can’t get them deep enough in my ear canal to stay put. Because of the imperfect fit of these store-bought earplugs, they really don’t do much to reduce noise. So when I saw the E.A.R. Inc. display in Sturgis, I figured I’d make one more attempt at getting a set of earplugs that fit well.
The Ear Inc. representative sat me down and peered into each ear, telling me that my ear canals were curved in such a way that traditional earplugs would never work for me. It was nice to get my suspicions confirmed, but what’s the solution? She recommended Insta-Mold earplugs that she would customize to fit my ears. After swabbing the inside of my ears with a cleaning lotion, she mixed a solution of medical-grade, hypoallergenic silicone, inserted it into a syringe and squirted the stuff into both ear canals to create the molds. She smoothed the outer face of each mold and left them in my ear for about 10 minutes, allowing each earplug to harden. After removing the Insta-Molds, she then placed a small, blue circular disk, the Identi-Tab, on the face of the left earplug so that I could distinguish the left from the right.
Upon removing the earplugs from my ears, she used a dremel to smooth the outer edges, mounted each Insta-Mold onto a toothpick and applied Insta-Seal Plus Silicone Koter for protection against dirt and debris. I was instructed to come back the next day because the earplugs take about 24 hours to fully harden. When I came back to pick them up, I was shown how to properly insert and remove the plugs (a quarter-turn back for insertion and a quarter-turn forward for removal).
I wore the Insta-Molds while still in Sturgis, and the fit was perfect. According to the product literature, when made correctly, the earplugs provide a “tissue to tissue” fit that follows the crevices and contour of the ear, allowing the wearer to use the earplugs in comfort for long periods of time. This nearly perfect fit also allows the Insta-Mold to achieve an EPA-adjusted Noise Reduction Rate of 29.8 dB, meaning a high level of hearing protection for the wearer. (The NRR is defined as the maximum number of decibels by which the hearing protector will reduce sound levels when worn.)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that exposure to noise at 100 dB is safe for only 15 minutes, and that permanent hearing loss can occur with prolonged exposure at 85 dB or above. Although some of the sound tests for motorcycles are quite subjective, one study shows that the range can go from 74 dB at idle to 116 dB at highway speeds, so the nearly 30 dB NRR that the Insta-Molds provide can really help save your hearing.
The true test, though, was on my ride back from Sturgis–about 1,800 miles of high-speed Interstate. It took me a little while to get used to the noise reduction, but I soon realized that I could hear everything that’s important, like sirens and horns. At my first gas stop, I found that I could even carry on a conversation without taking the Insta-Molds out. The primary goal of these earplugs is to mask out wind noise, which causes just as much, if not more, damage to your hearing as engine, exhaust, or other sounds. At 30-40 mph, wind noise dominates, even when your bike has a windshield mounted. That wind noise prevents you from hearing other noises that you need to hear, such as sirens, voices, and the like. Due to the fatigue-fighting “selective hearing” properties the Insta-Molds provide, I’m able to spend longer amounts of time in the saddle.
Although E.A.R. Inc. makes a number of other hearing protection products such as the Musician’s Filtered Earplugs available for riders who listen to audio and the Acoustical Filtered Earplugs designed for hunters and shooters, I find that my Insta-Mold earplugs work much better at the shooting range than shooter’s ear muffs alone. You can find the E.A.R. Inc. display at many motorcycle rallies and events. Or, if you contact the company, you will be directed to the nearest provider. For best results, make sure that the person fitting them to your ears has been properly trained by E.A.R. Inc. The Insta-Molds come with a nifty plastic carrying case, and are easily cleaned with soap and water. The company states that modifications or replacements will be made during the first 30 days after your purchase.
Raising Awareness Abroad
Recreational audiology advocate, Garry Gordon, MS, continues to spread his message of hearing protection abroad.
From left are Garry Gordon, president of EAR Inc, Boulder, Colo; Andrew Gordon; former President George Bush; Barbara Gordon, and Holly Gordon.
Garry Gordon, MS, believes conditions abroad—but especially in Europe—have never been better for providers and manufacturers to make sizable gains with hearing products intended for recreational and industrial users, individuals keen on preventing loss of hearing.
There is plenty of positive potential for such products because the recreational and industrial categories currently represent no more than 5% to 10% of the typical audiologist’s practice, Gordon indicates.
“The types of hearing protection in recreational audiology include custom earmolds, electronic earplugs, ear monitors, filtered earplugs, and radio communications,” says Gordon, a longtime pioneering champion of this niche. “At the high end are devices that are like little hearing aids in your ear, and they let you hear sounds —conversations—but the minute, say, a gun goes off at a competitive shooting event, in a split second you’re protected.”
Hearing protection is, however, a small-ticket item. A quality pair of noise blockers that fits over the ears like a headphone can cost as little as $50 American, Gordon points out.
Still, there is money to be made owing to the abundance of possible users, he hastens to add—volume sales, in other words. In the recreational market alone, there are rock concert-goers, motorcyclists, and automobile racing enthusiasts (in the cars, the pits and the stands). Over on the industrial side are the many people engaged in manufacturing, agriculture, public safety, and the military.
“With the right audience and the right products, there is such an unbelievable window of opportunity here,” he says, explaining that hearing professionals can use the occasion of fitting a recreational or industrial user with a noise attenuator as entree to a relationship long before he needs an actual hearing aid. “Attend events, conferences, and trade shows to market these products, gauge the needs of the recreational and industrial fields, and expand your customer base.”
Gordon is president of EAR Inc, a Boulder, Colo, provider of earmolds and hearing-protection products. He says one of the factors that helped his company break into the European market was a move to work with several high-profile Olympic athletes.
“When we were at events, cameras showed the stars from all these different countries in action, many of them wearing our products,” he tells. “When those pictures were published in magazines, consumers started asking how they could go about getting those same products. We were ready with the answer.”—R. Smith
E.A.R., Inc. Expands Product Line to Include ENTRY LEVEL HEARING and CLINICAL HEARING AIDS
January 5, 2004 – E.A.R., Inc. is pleased to announce that it has blended its comprehensive ear protection line to include state of the art hearing aids for multiple lifestyles. With over 2 million hits per month on its websites www.earinc.com, www.freehearingtest.com and thousands of E-mails requesting information about hearing aids, E.A.R. Inc. has decided to develop in concert with its affiliated laboratories a comprehensive line of hearing aids beginning with “ENTRY LEVEL” models which require no audiograms and advancing to “CLINICAL” units that would be customized audiometrically to the client’s hearing by a board certified outlet. Models include both DIGITAL and ANALOG circuitry and can be purchased in the following styles: 1. Behind-the ear (BTE), 2. In-the-Canal ITC, 3. Full Shell (ITE) or 4. Completely in the Canal (CIC).
For more information about this exciting new addition to E.A.R. Inc.’s product line feel free to visit our website www.earinc.com, or www.entrylevelhearingaids.com or www.freehearingtest.com. Or Ph: 303-447-2619 or 1-800-525-2690. E-mail: [email protected]
E.A.R. Inc. Unveils New DIGITAL ELECTRONIC 2-MEMORY MINICANAL EAR PROTECTOR DESIGNED FOR MULTIPLE USES
January 5, 2004 – E.A.R., Inc. has developed a 2 memory, HIGH/LOW, INDOOR/OUTDOOR, DIGITAL electronic ear protector for multiple use. Initially designed for motorcyclists to reduce wind noise, this unit can also be used for hunting, shooting, dentistry, snowmobiling, law enforcement, and industrial noise. By simply pushing a small button on the faceplate of the E.A.R. Digital MINICANAL the unit will advance into the second memory and significantly reduce the problems associated with excessive background noise. This is an exciting break through in the ear protection market since the MINICANAL does not require customization and comes with patented adjustable ear tips that have a built in wax guard. According to the factory over 290,000 units incorporating this design were sold as hearing aids with less than a 2% return. These statistics remain consistent with the current 2 year results experienced by E.A.R., Inc.
Over all, the E.A.R. MiniCanal series (ANALOG and DIGITAL) are extremely durable and come in a compact hard case with extra batteries, cleaning tool, instructions and a 1 year warranty.
For more information visit our website: www.earinc.com or call 1-800-525-2690 or 1-303-447-2619. E-mail: [email protected]
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
E.A.R., Inc. Provides New Series of Digital Electronic Ear Protectors at Affordable Prices
January 5, 2004 – E.A.R., Inc. a world leader in marketing specialized hearing systems (SHS) is pleased to present a new comprehensive series of affordable DIGITAL SULUTIONS for electronic ear protection.
This new family of digital technology includes the E.A.R. BASIC unit with excellent sound clarity, followed by the E.A.R. Digital PLUS, featuring an increased bandwidth and finally the E.A.R. DIGITAL PROGRAMABLE – INDOOR/OUTDOOR with 2 memories for reducing background sounds. (Note: E.A.R. Inc will continue to provide consumers who prefer ANALOG technology with high quality instruments.)
Styles include, FULL SHELL, HALF SHELL and STANDARD (behind-the-ear). Prices vary from $499 – $1250/ear for Digital and $160 – $550/ear for Analog. All units carry a 1 year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee.)
For additional information regarding this new line up of product feel free to contact E.A.R., Inc. at 1-800-525-2690 or 303-447-2619. E-mail [email protected] or Fax: 303-447-2637.
E.A.R. Expands Product Lines To Meet Ongoing Needs of Consumer Ear Protection and Vision Needs
January 5, 2004 – E.A.R., Inc. announces the expansion of its product line in response to the heavy demand from consumers participating in competitive shooting, hunting, motorcycling, law enforcement, dentistry and industrial accounts. Products for 2004 include a new series of high-end ANALOG and DIGITAL ELECTRONIC ear protectors, patented Waterproof behind the ear electronic plugs, E.A.R. Mini-Canals, Sports Monitors, wireless two-way radio communications and hearing aids. (See website www.earinc.com). These products have been specifically designed to meet the needs of consumers participating in these activities.
To learn more about these exciting product lines feel free to contact our office at 1-800-525-2690 or 303-447-2619. Or e-mail us at [email protected]
E.A.R., Inc. Introduces the WORLD’S FIRST HIGH TECH BEHIND THE EAR WATERPROOF ELECTRONIC EAR PROTECT
December 5, 2003 – Boulder, Colorado (U.S.A.) E.A.R. Inc. is pleased to introduce the world’s first waterproof behind the ear ELECTRONIC EAR protector called the “HUNTER.” This unit fits comfortably behind the ear and comes with (1) reusable tips, (2) a telecoil that permits it to be used with 2 way radio communications without wires. and (3) trim potentiometers that can be manually adjusted for frequency response. Since most failures with behind the ear units are due to moisture, the waterproof feature of the “HUNTER” is like having additional insurance against breakdown. Unlike many other behind the ear units, the “HUNTER” includes a windscreen located in front of the microphone. Markets for the “HUNTER” include, hunting (waterfowl, turkey, big game) law enforcement, and military.
For more information feel free to visit our website www.earinc.com or phone 303-447-2619 or 1-800-525-2690. E-mail: [email protected]
Introducing the New E.A.R. Inc../Insta-Mold Web site
April 9, 2002 – Thank you for your patience while we underwent heavy construction. The result hopefully makes your wait worthwhile.
With the large assortment of hearing-related products, now you can easily view our products based on your specific needs, requirements and uses. Many of our products now offer e-commerce capabilities. Save yourself time and place your order directly online.
And please write us at [email protected] if you encounter difficulties with our Web site. We’d be pleased to hear from you.
E.A.R., Inc./Insta-Mold Introduces RingSTOP™
April 4, 2002 – E.A.R., Inc.,/Insta-Mold proudly introduces a new product for
individuals suffering from tinnitus, a ringing and buzzing sound in the
ears, called RingSTOP™. Now, there
is hope for all shooting enthusiasts who have tinnitus.
Affecting over 50 million Americans, tinnitus is a major ailment,
commonly known as the “hidden badge” of active recreational enthusiasts.
According to our studies, this ailment is a common complaint from
individuals from worldwide tradeshows and conferences. These individuals
range from hunters and shooters — using muzzle breaks or ported
barrels — to individuals using the common cell phone.
Tinnitus sufferers also complain of psychological distress, lack of
rest, poor concentration and annoyance. There is no known cure of
tinnitus, but this new product break-through, RingSTOP™,
provides tremendous evidence that the ringing can significantly be reduced or eliminated.