Custom Earplugs (ACS, Elacin, Etymotic, Westone, etc.)

Discussion in 'Support' started by mick1987, Mar 4, 2014.

    1. frohike
      Approved

      frohike Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I had the same concern, but the product that gets into your ears is very soft, you feel no pressure at all. It felt safe. The custom ear plugs are waaaay easier to wear than the foam plugs.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    2. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Drugs barotrauma
      Anyone know of you can get different settings? I want a small degree of protection at times, and more at other times. And do they stay in? Like say if you are eating or sweating playing sports? I have a problem with plugs coming loose.
       
    3. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      • Informative Informative x 1
    4. Greg Clarke

      Greg Clarke Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wicklow, Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma, Live Music
      Thanks for the opinions lads.
       
    5. Greg Clarke

      Greg Clarke Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wicklow, Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma, Live Music
      @frohike , just noticed you said there's no pressure at all. Does the material travel very far into the ear?

      Any how do they remove the material once the mould is complete. I.e. is there any suction/cleaning element to the process?

      Thanks!
       
    6. frohike
      Approved

      frohike Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      First they put a small foam plug attached to a cord that they press gently inside your ear. That blocks the sillicone from entering the ear canal. Then they push the sillicone inside your ear. The sillicone is a soft material, it was like someone spraying my ear with shaving cream. The sillicone hardens inside your ear and then they manually pull it out. No cleaning needed because the sillicone comes out as a whole. Then they pull the cord with the small foam plug.

      It is an invasive procedure and the risk is that the foam doesn't completely block the sillicone from entering to your inner ear, where it could basically destroy it by sheer pressure. Or so I read, but again, in my experience the sillicone was very softly injected in my ear.

      Another thing, your ears must be free of ear wax or the mold wouldn't have the precise shape of your ear. As you can imagine, the use of these custom molded plugs may contribute to ear wax impaction over time.

      I believe I could swim with mine but didn't try. Even with an unusually small ear canal like mine they stay inside my ear, they don't become loose.
       
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    7. Greg Clarke

      Greg Clarke Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wicklow, Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma, Live Music
      Thanks again for the info frohike. I'm still torn whether to go through with it or not. I got a nice and informative response from the company too but the following line still has me unnerved "Whether the process will have any effect on your Tinnitus is impossible to say..."
       
    8. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Greg---I've had this procedure done 5 times. Just go to a good audiologist and you will be totally fine. My musicians plugs are invaluable to hearing better at lower volumes.
       
    9. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      They're not good if you sweat because the silicone can get slippery and come out and the sweat is not good for the filters...
       
    10. Figured why not? I can get a pair for about $175 from a local audiologist and I can afford it. I'll let you know if I think they are worth it.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    11. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Founder Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Pretty sure you will. They are so much better from the non-custom ones.

      Let us know what you think of them.

      Which brand did you end up getting?
       
    12. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      I'll be very interested to hear what you think. Keep us updated!

      @Markku do custom plugs minimize the occlusion effect at all?
       
    13. Alek

      Alek Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 15, 2014
      My friend I am here to inform you that I have purchased custom ear plugs for around the same price and they are definitely worth it if you desire to go out to any venue that has extremely loud music :)

      We must not let tinnitus limit our lives however dreadful and cumbersome it can be.
       
    14. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      Found this article about db's and the nrr rating on earplugs. Pretty interesting and important I think.

      How does NRR change decibels of exposure?

      When hearing protection is worn, your level of exposure to noise is based on the NRR rating of the protection device being used. Keep in mind, however, that while the NRR is measured in decibels, the hearing protector being used does not reduce the surrounding decibel level by the exact number of decibels associated with that protector’s NRR. For example, if you are at a rock concert where the level of noise exposure is 100 dB and you are wearing earplugs with an NRR 33dB, your level of exposure would not be reduced to 67 dB. Instead, to determine the actual amount of decibel deduction applied (when decibels are measured dBA which is the most common), you take the NRR number (in dB), subtract seven, and then divide by two. Given the previous example, your noise reduction equation would look like the following: (33-7)/2 = 13. This means that if you are at a rock concert with a level of noise exposure at 100 dB and you are wearing a hearing protector with an NRR 33 dB, your new level of noise exposure is 87 dB. If you are wearing a product with an NRR of 27 it would deduct 10 decibels (27-7/2=10).

      http://www.coopersafety.com/noisereduction.aspx
       
    15. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      I've done a little more reading up on the subject and found this:

      The NRR describes the average sound level reduction (attenuation) provided by a hearing protection device (HPD) in a laboratory test. Since the NRR is based on laboratory testing, it does not take into account the loss of protection that occurs when hearing protectors are not fit properly or when they are not worn for the entire time that the wearer is exposed to noise

      For most wearers, the NRR identified on the current EPA label (shown here) significantly overestimates the protection of the hearing protector in the workplace. This rating is based on an “experimenter fit” method of measuring HPD attenuation.

      Using the EPA Noise Reduction Rating (Experimenter Fit)

      The NRR on the EPA label shown to the right is based on the average amount of attenuation provided by an HPD when it is worn by 10 different people during a laboratory test. During this test, the person conducting the test fits the hearing protector on each person. This “experimenter fit” method results in ratings as high as 33 dB. Since research indicates that these ratings overestimate the protection that many wearers will receive in the real world, 3M RECOMMENDS REDUCING THE NRR before attempting to estimate the effectiveness of an HPD as follows:

      1. Subtract 7 dB from the NRR if noise is measured on the A- weighted decibel scale (dBA). (Skip this step if noise is measured on the C-weighted dB scale)
      2. Divide the result of step 1 (NRR- 7) by 2. This is known as “derating”.
      So maybe this doesn't apply to custom earplugs as they should fit perfectly in a persons ears. I'd welcome anymore input on the subject if anyone has more info.
       
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    16. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Math never was my subject. So I have to say, I never have done calculations as detailed as the ones you outline, @Bertman. And I think you can take care of most situations without doing so, although I appreciate the desire to properly protect oneself.

      In a nutshell. @Constable85: I bought Etymotics custom plugs shortly after coming down with tinnitus two years ago. A big part of my choice of custom plugs was that I wanted filtered ones, as I sing with two groups. I need to have protection yet be able to hear those around me. Etymotics (as with other brands) have interchangeable filters rated for different protection levels. They also have solid plugs (vs filters) for more protection.
      http://www.etymotic.com/

      I paid about $300 USD, which included two sessions and a consultation with a PhD-level hearing device specialist, along with two sets of filters. Lot written about custom plugs -- re. this brand and others -- here at TT. We have a lot of musicians. So have a search around for other opinions.

      When I go to loud concerts, I put in the 25dB filters, put on construction ear muffs and sit toward the back. Same with movies, at least during the trailers, which for some insane reason are even louder than the flick.
      But I no longer attend head-banging, ultra loud events. Too worried about sound and bone conductivity, which no plugs can protect you from. I left a concert last year when I realized the sound was making me feel pressure in my sternum.

      My custom plugs were a fantastic investment. Never have been sorry.
      Good luck!
       
    17. Yea, I got my molds done today. I got the Etymotic musician plugs, 25db. I should have the finished product in about 10 business days or so. I think it's a good investment. I don't even go to concerts anymore, but for loud gyms, bars etc. these will come in very handy. I don't like the regular plugs because I sort of just push them in and hope they seal properly. With these, i am hoping they seal perfectly each and every time as soon as I put them in.

      See more here: http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection/erme.html
       
    18. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      @LadyDi I agree and I probably won't do those calculations very often, just use my own sense if things are too loud. But with that said it does seem surprising that the nrr isn't necessarily the db reduction everyone experiences and can be much less. Someday I do plan on getting custom ones as well, just don't have the extra funds at the moment. Been looking at these ..
      http://www.earpeace.com/collections.../products/custom-ear-plugs?variant=1100790776
       
    19. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hi @Bertman: Looks like the Earpeace product is very similar to Etymotics: molded plugs with interchangeable filters. Does the $175 your audiologist quoted include making the molds? Or just the product?

      Also, just my personal experience... I like having two filter sets: one at the highest level the company makes and one in the middle (if three selections are offered). I have two sets: 15 dB (middle offered by Etymotics) and 25 dB (highest offered by Etymotics). I find I use the 15 dB much more but at times, nothing but the 25 dB will do. My audiologist threw in the second set of filters free, so you might ask.

      I found it takes a little guidance and practice to properly slip custom plugs in your ears but then again, I apparently have very small and weird shaped canals. Just ask your audiologist to work with you (at no charge) on practicing use.

      Also, regarding the NRR: I had heard before that using 25 dB plugs, for example, doesn't mean the noise from that 100 dB concert gets cut to 75 dB. And as I mentioned before, it also does not take into account bone conductivity, or the way very loud sound travels through your skeletal system vs. your ears. Which is why I don't expose myself to very loud sounds for any amount of time any more.

      @Constable85: Hope you love your Etymotics as much as I do. Again, my experience: Find a safe and secure way to carry them. I use a small coin purse. You definitely don't want to lose them, given the expense.
       
    20. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I went with ACS and picked 3 different filters, the pro 10, 17 and 26. I also paid £2.50 for a seal that completely blocks it to maximise the protection for intense situations if I ever need it. Cost me £251 in total but I only wish I did it sooner.

      I've heard good things about the Pro 17s bring very neutral and balanced. Apparently like hearing pretty much the same thing just with the volume control switched down.

      Has anyone on here got anything good or bad to say about the ACS pro range? I'd love to hear some feedback from some actual users.

      I'm a musician so I'll be using them for gigs/rehearsals and watching other bands play. I decided on a 10 filter for possibly bars etc that are just edging into being loud so it doesn't make me deaf to conversations but takes the edge off the volume a bit.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. adam2525
      Balanced

      adam2525 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Good choice. I don't leave home without them.
       
    22. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hi @Ed209

      I don't have the ACS. Mine are Etymotics custom, but they sound very similar. I also don't leave home without mine. My filters are slightly different db protection. Basically, I find I most commonly use the 15 dB (which do allow me to carry on conversations in loud bars). I rarely use the 7 dB. And I sometimes use the 25 dB in my large choral group, especially if we perform with a full orchestra.

      My only advice is: Get some kind of small pouch where you can carry the plugs and an additional filter set. Sometimes, you'll think one filter will be the right one for a situation and find out you're wrong. I also keep close tabs on mine. I don't want to lose them, at that price, the way I constantly lose my sunglasses!

      Hope you enjoy your new purchase. I consider my custom plugs a very worthwhile investment.
       
    23. DavidSupertramp
      Cheerful

      DavidSupertramp Member

      Location:
      Rose Hill , Mauritius
      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma and TMJD
      Hey guys , hope you're doing great today !
      I just bought some foam ear plugs but i don't really like to use them . So while doing some research i saw something called '' molded filter ear plugs '' . The band Coldplay uses it to protect their ears when they play live , so I tried to look for it on eBay but couldnt find any . Anyone here who knows some trusted site where they sell good Molded Filter Ear Plugs may reply on this thread please , thanks !
      For anyone wondering what it looks like :
      moulded%202_zpsvzjzftnu.png
      moulded%201_zpsrcynsytd.png
       
    24. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Founder Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      There are many brands:

      http://www.acscustom.com/us/index.php/hearing-protection
      http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection/erme.html
      http://www.elacin.com/intl/en/elacin-music

      As far as I know, all (ACS, Etymotic, Elacin) are top brands when it comes to this stuff.

      You need to have a mould impression taken of your ears so they require you seeing a professional for that.

      See above sites for more information.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    25. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      How are you liking the ACS plugs? I've been thinking of picking up some custom ones called ear peace, which are made by acs. Probably just going to get the 26 to start because I have downbeats for my mid range protection. What kind of situations have you used them in?
      Thanks
       
    26. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      As far as I know he is using in ear monitors... Not
      Filted custom molds. They are solid molds that are like crazy noise isolating head phones....
      Though these may be solid custom plugs I don't know
       
    27. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      @Bertman I'm loving the ACS ear plugs. They are more comfortable than standard foam and filtered plugs, have less occlusion (hearing your own voice in your head when you speak) and give excellent clarity. I use them at band rehearsals and any time I need protection at places that get loud basically.

      According to my phone our rehearsals are between 95-100db, with the 26 filter in it feels and sounds comfortable. I can still hear speech perfectly fine, although the most popular filter for musicians is the 17 filter. I actually have this as well but haven't used it yet because I feel more comfortable having extra protection.

      I actually had a bit of an event happen a week last Saturday that started a relapse. The last few weeks had been much much better for me which made this even worse. Basically we went to a James Bond themed black tie ball. They had a casino, band and ex SAS performing a stunt show. I went because I want to live how I used to do so took my plugs with me as I feel secure with them in. What I failed to realise is that the stunt show involved guns shooting blanks and they are really loud, especially indoors. This part of the evening was done as if there was a surprise terrorist attack (which I didn't know) and they just came out shooting out of the blue, I just simply didn't have time to put my plugs in and had to cover my ears, but by the time I did I still took in at least 4 gun shots. There was no immediate ringing but I can tell you there was instant panick inside me and my anxiety went through the roof. The rest of the night was ruined for me because I was obsessing over my ears, which at that point I'd been doing really well with.

      I started to hear ringing for the rest of the night but logically they are always ringing, I have tinnitus, but I had started to habituate quite strongly. What caused my relapse was my over active mind telling me the gun shots I heard from about 10-15 metres away had further damaged my hearing. I've had the worst week since my T became intrusive.

      The logical part of my brain says I didn't cause damage as although the shots were loud there was only about 4 or 5 that I heard and they are very short sounds. My heart on the other hand keeps telling me they did damage, this has basically messed my head up all over again.

      This kind of thing further shows me how the real world just throws loud sounds at us with no public health warning whatsoever. It's only when you have a problem with your ears that you realise people do random stuff like this with no thought whatsoever to people with problems like ours.

      Sorry for the rant but I naturally just felt I had to get it off my chest.
       
    28. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      @Ed209 Wow, I'm sorry to hear about your incident. I've definitely had similar things happen to me, although it was usually from ignorance on my part. The anxiety of a spike does seem to make it worse too, but after a few days to a week I find myself and my T calming down, unfortunately each time I think it stays a little bit louder. That's the reason I'm looking into custom earplugs with high attenuation levels, so I can try and go back to a somewhat normal life. I think you just have to try and listen to your brain on this one and keep telling yourself that there was no further damage and that you will be fine. Hope you feel better soon!
       
    29. I had mentioned elsewhere that I was getting some custom plugs so I thought I'd give my verdict. I got the Westone Concert musician custom plugs and I carry them daily and use them whenever I feel as if I'm in a loud environment, they have a 15 NRR. I really like them. There is no doubt that foam plugs do the job too but (for me) foam plugs were hit or miss on getting a good seal in the ear. With custom plugs the seal and fit is always right. The plugs cost me about $150 and I say they are worth it. The other day I went to an audiologist and got some custom molds for some Westone DefendEar Solid plugs (NRR 29) for when I shoot pistols/shotguns at a local range (I also wear full muffs with NRR of 30 when I do that). The solids will cost me a bit over $100.

      So overall, I do recommend the Westone custom plugs. Any questions feel free to ask.
       
    30. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      I just ordered some custom plugs made by ACS through a website called earpeace. They are having a 10% off sale until midnight tonight. Getting my impressions done next week. All in all it will be around 300 CAD. I'll let everyone know how they are when I get them.
       
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