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

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

    1. MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      I should've read/replied to this post first, as it seems to answer what I'm experiencing at the moment!

      Maybe I do have a mild form of hyperacusis, I can't say I've noticed any pain from noises, but I'm clearly very sensitive to fairly loud sounds as shown by the bar I went to the other night (I think a post I'm yet to read fully/reply to by Michael Leigh says that this might be a form of hyperacusis).

      Very occasionally I almost feel like a milder sound is affecting me, but I've also got priors with imagining things that aren't there, just by believing I'm experiencing something. A mild form of hypochondria maybe!

      That's great to hear you're doing much better now. It's definitely hit me hard and I feel a bit like my life's been turned upside down, even though I have a milder version than many others I've read about.

      Thanks for the support!
       
    2. Tom Cnyc

      Tom Cnyc Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Warehouse event after years of enjoying music.
      My personal take is that hyperacusis MAY be caused by the muscles of the ear being in constant tension to protect itself. Essentially the tensor tympani in constant tension. Hold a fist for a month. It'll hurt. Same thing.

      For me once I calmed down, and my muscles calmed down the area, it faded.

      Fight or flight involves your neck being tense. Shoulders up. Protect the neck instincts from our reptilian brains.

      My hyperacusis is gone man, for all intents and purposes. I think yours will too.
       
    3. MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      Interesting theory! I've just been discussing with another member of this forum about some neck exercises to do. Although his Tinnitus is related to an accident he had and so it's lowering the sound of his tinnitus, I mostly want to do it because my neck muscles have always been insanely tight, if it eases my hyperacusis as a very welcome side-effect then I'm definitely not losing anything by doing it either.

      I have noticed that my tinnitus seems to get a lot louder each night when I'm lying down at night, or if I wake up in the middle of the night. I don't know if that's because things are quieter and so I'm amplifying the sound in my head more, or it has something to do with me lying down? But I would've thought my neck muscles would be more relaxed if it was related to them? The volume definitely increases substantially, I would say from fairly mild to screeching at some points (although that might be relative to the silence in the room).

      Kind of got sidetracked there, but I was thinking of doing a post about it anyway, as it seems to be a bit of a pattern for me. Obviously my day is no way near as quiet as my night (although I am still playing nature sounds and a bit of pink noise at a pretty low volume at night), so maybe that's why, but I just wondered if this was something others experienced too.

      Thanks for the hope. I'm not going to be overcautious, but it's definitely going to affect my upcoming plans, which isn't ideal at this time of year!
       
    4. MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      Actually, it might just be because I'm distracting myself from the sound even when there's something quiet playing. Or maybe it's related to being tired. I'm absolutely shattered and currently sitting up in silence and I think I'm getting closer to experiencing it now. Think I'm going to put on some low-level sounds so I don't go mad and try and get some sleep!

      Cheers!
       
    5. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I got custom plugs like that and used them for like 2 months. Uncomfortable, less hearing protection than normal foam earplugs, and the filter fell and got lost. Pretty shitty, and they were expensive.
       
    6. MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      Hi Juan,

      Just wondering if you know what brand of custom earplugs you bought and what filters you were using?

      I think I probably will get some customs for environments that aren't as extreme in volume as clubs/concerts (not that I am going to be attending them any time soon, but if I were to in the future I'd use foam earplugs as well). Was just curious as to which brand you didn't get on with as I've generally seen pretty positive reviews for them.

      Thank you!
      Michael
       
    7. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Hi Michael,

      I bought Phonak custom made earplugs. with the highest filter (I dont remember the rating). In theory they filter less sound that ordinary foam earplugs, and the sound should be more balanced. However, I had extreme hyperacusis when I bought them, so I did not notice such a big difference. I did notice that they blocked less sound than foam earplugs.
       
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    8. MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      Thanks for the reply. I haven't heard of those ones, but yeah, I imagine if your hyperacusis is really severe then you'd want the strongest dB reduction you can get.

      Cheers!
       
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    9. Fifth Business

      Fifth Business Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Deafening applause (ppl clap loudly after reading my posts)
      Hey @Tom Cnyc , would you be able to elaborate a little bit more? I remember reading you went to see a specialist--some sort of physical therapist or chiropractor concerning upper-body tension you had? I think you further mentioned they routinely see people that are either explicitly tinnitus patients, or are occupationally risk-prone to getting it. Curious what this entailed?

      My upper-body has been kind of a mess, particularly my neck/trapezius. My lifestyle for a long time was a real ergonomic disaster. It involved getting up early to lift weighs (mostly presses, with my neck lurched forward), going to the office (neck lurched forward, looking at computer) and then heading straight to band practice to play drums (shockingly, based on old pics I've seen--with my neck lurched forward).

      Last spring my tinnitus got severe due to dangerous noise exposure (its much better now), my neck was also hurting like hell (also improved now, could be better) and was right behind the tinnitus in terms of what was negatively impacting my quality of life.

      Do you its realistic think these upper-body issues can have an exacerbating effect on what is otherwise routine, noise-induced tinnitus?
       
    10. Tom Cnyc

      Tom Cnyc Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Warehouse event after years of enjoying music.
      I also have some serious postural issues inolving my thoracic spine / traps / back / etc. Desk-job-itis compounding some injuries.

      But yes! Your musclular issues can absolutely make this much much worse.
       
    11. Fifth Business

      Fifth Business Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Deafening applause (ppl clap loudly after reading my posts)
      Have you encountered any literature/medical advice speaking to this? Booking another appointment with my physical therapist to work on neck/spinal issues--previously was working on my (kind of) seriously injured shoulders but thaaat's another story; but I suppose all this stuff is (literally) connected.

      Not really emotionally invested in having a positive outcome as far as my tinnitus is concerned, but am intrigued at the interplay between these two issues. I was hit *hard* by both around the beginning of the year.
       
    12. Tom Cnyc

      Tom Cnyc Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Warehouse event after years of enjoying music.
      Long and short, TMJ is a known cause of tinnitus. The neck muscles and upper back are very highly related to all that.
       
    13. Fifth Business

      Fifth Business Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Deafening applause (ppl clap loudly after reading my posts)
      thanks man
       
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    14. mrbrightside614

      mrbrightside614 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NE Ohio, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Hey everyone, ACS Custom, a hearing protection company is offering 20% off hearing protection for World Hearing Day (today only).
      The coupon code is WHD2020, and you can enter the coupon at checkout. The coupon is saving me $50.

      Site here: https://acscustom.com/index.html

      @Markku @Hazel @Samir could we maybe make an alert for this?
       
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    15. Barbara777

      Barbara777 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2015
      I used the coupon. Thank you!! Nice deal.

      ACS a good brand?
       
    16. aot
      Depressed

      aot Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016. Worsened 11/2019.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise induced, worsened due to noise exposur + flu
      I've been considering getting some custom plugs made. I can never get foam earplugs to fit correctly. I have Hearprotek Musician's Plugs, but they're kind of a knock off brand and only reduce 20Db.

      The thing is, I don't have any in network audiologists within 50 miles of my house. (Yeah, it sucks.) So I'll be spending a lot of money if I go that route.

      Are they worth the cash? How good are they for protection? Or should I just invest in better Musician's plugs? And if so, what brand?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    17. Brooklyn NY

      Brooklyn NY Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 5, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      probably pepto bismo and aspercreme
      Hi, I have Westone custom ear plugs with solid adapter, and filters for 15dB and 25dB. I have found them to be very effective, but like any other ear plug, it is not 100 per cent.
       
    18. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I just received a pair of ACS custom earplugs today. Here's a comparison photo between them and a pair of custom Westones.

      ACS (clear) on the left. Westones (grey) on the right.

      IMG_0583.jpg
       
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    19. Damocles
      English

      Damocles Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis
      Hi @kingsfan. I'm just going to add some snapshots of our previous conversations that lead to this point; so that anyone else reading this in future has some back story.

      acs2.PNG

      acs1.PNG

      ACS.PNG

      So, without sounding too much like a corporate defence Lawyer here, or an ACS lobbyist, what I would first like to point out is my use of the word significant in the above sentence.

      Basically, I have never found an earplug that has been completely devoid of creating the occlusion effect.

      I have certainly had earplugs that reduced it to a further degree than my ACS Pro Series, but with the drawback of being: a lot deeper, less comfortable, and the cause of frequent abrasion to the less robust skin deeper inside the ear canal, which would subsequently cause ear infections.

      So what I'm trying to explain here, is that the ACS Pro Series were the perfect compromise in allowing me to wear comfortable earplugs, which allowed me to re-enter environments I had become "allergic" to, for long stretches of time, without suffering the threat of constant ear infections; with the one downside of a slightly increased occlusion effect.

      But I greatly stress the word slightly here. The occlusion is minimal, in my opinion. And over the 12 years I've been using the ACS Pro Series (that includes times in my life when my hyperacusis and reactivity have been at their worst) they have never increased my baseline or made any symptom of my tinnitus or hyperacusis, worse.

      As I said prior, I accord a huge amount of credit to these earplugs for my habituation, and eventual stabilisation, of a condition that was slowly killing me via the anxiety it was generating.

      So my view here @kingsfan, without being able to try your custom moulds for myself, is that they are probably working fine; but that you are such a highly analytical individual, that you are able to detect and scrutinise even the minutest differences in the occlusion effect, each unique earplug model is creating.

      I really think you should give the ACS Pro Series a good chance here, and just try not to concern yourself over the occlusion effect for a while. Just try to remind yourself that it's not severe enough to cause you any permanent harm.

      You'll have to take my word for this, but I have been out in earplugs that created occlusion effect to a level that made my voice feel tantamount to an explosion every time I spoke, and yet I'm no worse for it.
       
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    20. Barry098
      No Mood

      Barry098 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      The ACS molds are way better looking than the Westones. I’m definitely interested in hearing your thoughts when you’ve had a chance to break them in. BTW, I have some solid Westones that I really like, but I’m interested in finding some filtered earplugs as well.
       

      Attached Files:

    21. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I am definitely being highly critical here. I've tried so many different earplugs now that I have some very specific set of criteria I am looking for.

      Thus far, these absolutely pass on comfort level. These are the most comfortable earplugs I have tried. No pressure or soreness like foam and universal "flanged" earplugs, much softer material than custom Westones which not only helps with comfort but keeps a better seal due their flexibility. These are how I imagined Sensaphonics would feel.

      However, due to the soft material, they can be a bit of pain to insert. I can't get them in most of the time when my inner ear is dry, so I have to use lubricant. This can be kind of pain if I need to insert them quickly. I was planning on getting an additional pair of molds if I liked these - each with varying filters so I could quickly change protection if my environment changes. I'm not sure how well that will work if I have to pull out lubricant in order to change them out. Also, the right mold doesn't appear to reliably fully seal without the lubricant so I'm going to be contacting ACS to see we can remedy this. The left mold feels solid though. I also have trouble with the right mold on my Westones, so I must have a tricky ear canal.

      As far as the filters, I'm actually not that satisfied with the attenuation. I already had a feeling I wouldn't like them when I saw the attenuation was pretty even across all frequencies. I feel there is too much attenuation along the low and mid frequencies causing music and surroundings to sound thin and too high pitched. I think I have pretty bad high frequency recruitment and prefer the high frequencies to be attenuated more. I think I'm going to try the Pro20 (21/18/16) filters since they attenuate more on the highs than the lows as apposed to the Pro17 (16/16/16). My Westones filters have the same issue. My Earasers have perfect attenuation (20/16/13), I feel. Everything sounds perfectly balanced. The only issue I will face if I do like the Pro20 is deciding what to do about my Pro26 (26/25/25) filters. The Pro27 (27/24/23) matches the Pro20 in its proportion of lows to highs, but I hear the Pro27 filters are larger. I will ask ACS about this.

      Long story short on the filters, music on my car stereo sounds thin and piercing, and no amount of EQ has been able to correct it.

      Now for occlusion. Appears no different than any ordinary earplug, which is a bummer since they claim to have ports to reduce occlusion. This is the only I chose ACS of Sensaphonics. The occlusion is about the same as the occlusion from my Westones, worse than my Earasers, and way worse than foam. I was really hoping I could sing in these, but that won't be possible. Still searching for a way to sing and play acoustic guitar without spiking.
       
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    22. Snake
      Heartbroken

      Snake Member

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2011 - Gaming on headphones. 2020 - Severe by breaking glass
      Personally I can't talk in foam earplugs because It's too hard to understand other people talking, I'm looking for something that would let pass people voice so more flat attenuation.

      How is it after a month? Are you able to speak with people in them without your voice exploding inside you, go for a walk without constantly hearing your boots explode under you? I tried over the counter Alpine Music Safe Pro Plugs and attenuation is ok for meeting friends at house etc. I don't go to overcrowded pubs but the occlusion effect is SO BAD it's better without them at all in terms of risk and damage... my own voice is so loud I don't hear anything else.

      I need something in what I'll be able to just talk without thinking twice that "I'm talking too much, better be safe than sorry.". I like and love to talk, I can talk in foam earplugs but I don't understand anyone else and I feel like I'm deaf...

      I can choose between Haspro (Etymotics filters) / Elacin / try to get ACS remotely by doing impressions on my own (they don't have an office in Poland) and I don't know what to do :( it's a lot of money so it better be well spent.
       
    23. Liam92

      Liam92 Member

      Location:
      Glasgow
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      Hey @kingsfan, I recently got some ACS Pro 27's which seems to be the strongest in their range. I was wondering if you could show me a picture of your set with the tube hole (the little hole nearest your eardrum when inserted)? I heard the ACS Pro 27's is very narrow compared to the rest of the range so I was just looking for a comparison.

      Thanks dude!
       
    24. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I actually just received the Pro27 and Pro20 filters in the mail literally a few minutes ago. I have all of the filters now except the Pro15. They are all the same size.

      I wish I had bought the Pro27 and Pro20 initially. Their sound profile already sounds leagues better than the Pro17 and Pro26. The Pro17 are completely unusable to be, because the sound is so harsh. Those two filters cut a lot of low frequencies which makes everything sound really harsh. The Pro20 and Pro27 cut less low and more high which makes every sound very balanced imho.

      The Pro26 and Pro27 are both rated at SNR 26. They just attenuate frequencies differently.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    25. ZFire
      Movie buff

      ZFire Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 (mild) & 04/2021 (severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity (2012) Unknown-likely noise induce (2021)
      I’m thinking about adding the Pro Impulse filters to my collection... What are your thoughts on those?
       
    26. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I'm not sure they would be great for anything outside of weapons use and maybe using nail guns and such. They are only SNR 15 and don't look like they provide much protection below 1 kHz. 1 kHz and above, they do look to be better than the Pro15's though. They are actually on par with the Pro20 at 2 kHz and above.

      Screen Shot 2022-06-18 at 5.32.20 PM.png
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    27. Liam92

      Liam92 Member

      Location:
      Glasgow
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      I'm sure the Pro27 filters should only be used with the Pro27 moulds. As far as I know, the actual Pro27 mould has a very narrow tubing inside compared to the rest of the Pro range.

      All the filters can still be swapped around but the actual Pro27 mould has its own dimensions. That's why I was interested to see your Pro26 moulds to compare them to the Pro27's.

      https://www.acscustom.com/uk/products/hearing-protection/pro-series/pro-27

      If you scroll to the bottom of the Pro27 page, it has a little note with the information.

      This is the exit of the inner tubing on my Pro27's. I was just wondering if the Pro26's were similar mould wise.

      I also have Elacin ER25's but the exit hole on their inner tubing is bigger. They're great earplugs too though!

      Point Blur_Jun192022_030036.png
       
    28. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Very interesting. The US website doesn't say anything about them not being interchangeable. I'll try and get a photo of mine, but they are much deeper molds so the ends are thinner. Which, in turn, make the hole appear smaller. I do think it's the same size as yours though.
       
    29. Liam92

      Liam92 Member

      Location:
      Glasgow
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      Keep me updated. It would be interesting to see a comparison between them to see if there was an actual difference. I've attached some more pictures to compare. Note the very narrow tubing inside, I wonder if the Pro26's are the same?

      PXL_20220620_093927872.jpg

      PXL_20220620_093935394.jpg

      PXL_20220620_093952152.jpg

      PXL_20220620_093908313.jpg
       
    30. Damocles
      English

      Damocles Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis
      I had forgotten about this, as it's been over ten years since I last ordered anything above ACS PRO20, but @Liam92's post has jogged my memory.

      I remember ordering moulds with PRO27 filters through my very first audiologist, and him explaining to me that they could only be used with those exact filters.
      As I recall, this is only the case for the PRO27 moulds.

      Moulds ordered with any filter below this range should be interchangeable.
       
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