Does active noise canceling work to protect your hearing?

Active Noise Canceling Big Ear

The short answer is ABSOLUTELY NO. It takes a little bit to understand just what active noise canceling is and isn’t and what it can do and what its limitations are.

Let’s, first of all, understand that it would never be designed to use as a hearing protection device, but rather a background noise eliminator. The main glaring flaw is 2 fold and it is not a flaw really it is just what it is.

  1. Are you using a active noise canceling unit that is using a ear tip to be able to seal off the ear canal and be a better hearing protection device than a open speaker like the old earbuds where you can still hear all the outside noise and have to turn up the sound in the device to overcome the background noise.
  2. This is something that is very hard to find but is in the very small print. This is not meant to be a hearing protection device. The issue is it cant control any kind of sudden impulse sound or quickly changing loud bursts of sound. It is designed to listen and access the sounds coming in and creating an anti frequency to cancel this sound wave to give you the effect on reduced background noise. This takes time to do and if you try and use this active noise canceling device like a hearing protection device you will constantly get dosed and this will lead to Tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss.

Here is an excellent article in Wiki on how active noise canceling works.

There are a few different patents and devices out there that taught that it will eliminate all the sounds and most people automatically think that would then include hearing protection.

Many people who read or sell this unit take a pretty hard opinion about their new devices, but they are not doing more than 100 events per year talking belly to belly to customers that are all confused now when they come up to our booths. So many are asking us is this active noise canceling like it is somehow some kind of hearing protection device and it just simply is not.

So the positives

The jawbone device was one of the first to really get this technology out to the consumer and they are now out of business. They were too soon and too expensive and no one knew what it was. It was too heavy and did not fit very many ears without an adapter. Once you added a custom ear adapter it became an amazing unit.

The Bose headset was one of the first to get market penetration on the over the ears noise canceling and if you had noting it was better than that, but you sweat and it was not comfortable to wear. You still could hear all the sudden pulse and impact sounds are so it is not hearing protection.

We are a hearing protection company first so are jaded on products that claim and give the false sense to be some sort of reduction product but when you look at there disclaimers and indemnification clauses they try and not be liable for the miss information or confusion that they cause.

What the best noise canceling headphone with compression

The proper device to create:

It would be expensive and overkill, but the right product that will need to be created would be a sealed active noise canceling with compression. This would allow all the background noise to be recreated and compressed to be recreated so you could control and limit the impulse and random bursts of sound.

There is no reason to get into a debate with the active noise canceling device companies because they always say that it is not a hearing protection device, some where in small print, but like drug companies they only tout the benefits and let you believe that it would be hearing would be protected because we neutralize noise.

So at the end of the day if you are in an area that is over 95dB, wear some sort of hearing protection and don’t rely on an active noise canceling device to protect your hearing from noise-induced hearing loss.

How to find the right hearing protection.


Hearing Protection for Construction Workers

One of the most common causes of acquired hearing loss is prolonged exposure to excessive noise. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), more than half of all construction workers have been exposed to noise that is considered hazardous. Due to this fact, it should come as no surprise that construction workers are prone to having some degree of hearing loss. According to one particular study, those working in construction had the second highest rates of hearing impairment.

construction hearing protection

Common Noises on Construction Sites

Construction workers are exposed to a variety of hazardous noises that are not typically found in other industries. Because noise on construction sites is varied and always changing, it can be difficult to control the noise levels. Some of the most hazardous noises on a construction site include:
• Jackhammers
• Cement mixers
• Electric saws
• Welding machines
• Sledgehammers
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a permissible noise level of 90 dBA is permitted for workers during an 8-hour day. Workers should only be exposed to noise levels of 100 dBA for only two hours during the day. Considering the fact that the noise level of a jackhammer is 130 dBA, this level of noise is not considered safe for any amount of time. Other power tools used in construction can be as high as 115 dBA. Noise levels for heavy construction equipment range between 80 to 120 dBA.
It’s easy to see that when construction workers are exposed to these kinds of noise levels, why they would suffer hearing loss.

Hearing Loss is Permanent

Anytime hearing loss occurs after birth it is called acquired hearing loss. In some instances, when a person is subjected to loud noises, their hearing loss is only temporary. Some people also experience tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, after exposure to loud noises. However, for people like construction workers who are exposed to excessive noise for prolonged periods of time, hearing loss is often permanent. This means that nothing can reverse the damage that has been caused.
When hearing loss occurs, it is gone forever. This permanent hearing loss may occur in one ear or both. Once the hearing has been permanently impaired, the only way to get it back is by wearing hearing aids. If you are a construction worker and want to prevent injury to your hearing on the construction site, you’ll need to educate yourself on how to prevent hearing loss.

Reasons Construction Workers Don’t Wear Hearing Protection

Construction workers who do not want to suffer from permanent hearing loss can do some things to prevent it. One of the simplest ways to protect the ears is by wearing hearing protection. Despite this fact, only 31% of construction workers that are exposed to loud noises wear any type of hearing protection.
Some reasons construction workers give for not wearing hearing protection include:
• Hearing protectors are too uncomfortable
• Hearing protectors are too hot
• Workers are not trained properly to wear hearing protection devices
• Workers do not have access to hearing protection devices
• Workers are not aware they need hearing protection
• Hearing protectors create situations where they can’t hear other workers
In some of these instances, the employer is responsible for making sure all of their workers have the proper training and access to hearing protection. In other instances, it is up to the construction worker whether they choose to wear hearing protectors.

Industrial Hearing ProtectionGuardian Transformer Guardian Max Guardian Vanquisher

Every industrial product we offer will allow you to solve any hearing conservation problem you have.

The Best Earplugs for Preventing Hearing Loss

There are many types of hearing protectors on the market. Some of the most common ones include wax balls, earmuffs, and noise-canceling headphones. There are also different types of earplugs including ones made out of foam and ones made from silicon. Universal earplugs are the most popular.
Earplugs work by protecting the ear canal. In order to be effective, the earplug must block the ear canal with an airtight seal. For this reason, it’s important for those wearing earplugs to insert them correctly. It’s not recommended to simply stuff the earplug into the ear. The correct method involves pulling the top of the ear up and back. This helps to straighten out the ear canal. The earplug can then be inserted into the ear canal. After the earplug is inserted, it’s necessary to hold it until it expands into the ear canal. When the voice of the wearer sounds muffled, it means there is an airtight seal.
Despite the fact that most earplugs offer an airtight seal, these types of earplugs are only recommended for short-term use. For construction workers who need hearing protection for many hours a day, the best type of hearing protection is custom-made industrial earplugs. Custom-made earplugs are called otoplastics. Because they are custom-made, this type of earplug fits the wearer perfectly. Besides fitting perfectly and offering superior hearing protection, another advantage of customized earplugs is that they last for many years.

In order to make this type of earplug, an ear impression is taken of the outer ear and the ear canal for the person who will be wearing the earplug. This enables the earplug to take the shape of the wearer’s ear. Besides offering a perfect fit, these custom-made earplugs can be worn under a hardhat and other protective equipment, which makes them perfect for construction workers.
Construction sites are some of the loudest locations in the world. For this reason, it’s absolutely imperative for construction workers to take care of their hearing. If they don’t start now, they could permanently lose their hearing. Finding the right hearing protection is crucial for hearing protection. Wearing custom-made industrial earplugs is the best thing construction workers can do for their hearing.

Clarity Aloft Adapters: An Innovation

Despite the production of numerous varieties of communication devices, choices for comfortable earpieces are actually infrequent. More often than not, one-size-fits-all products dominate the market. For instance, if you perform a simple Google search on the best aviation headsets, you will most probably find sponsored websites promoting mainstream generic-fitting products from Amazon. There is not enough room for specialty items such as those that are custom-made. What’s worse is that generic products can even cost from a hundred to a thousand dollars! While this may be acceptable for the occasional flyer or his guest passengers, this should not be the standard especially for professionals who travel frequently for extended periods of time. Factors such as accumulation of sweat, chafing of ears, poor microphone and audio response are important in reconsidering customized earpieces.

Common considerations

There are many reasons why people still choose generic-fitting earpieces in spite of all the benefits of having them customized. One reason is that custom-made products are often more pricey than mass-produced ones. Another is that companies that offer custom goods are quite limited and hard to find. While these are all valid considerations, as a consumer, you must also weigh the pros and cons of having your gear customized. Think about it. The cumulative costs of having a generic headset and replacing it every so often due to low quality can amount to the price of a good custom-made one that can actually last for years.

Clarity Aloft Adapter

Changing for the better

At Big Ear, we offer only the best custom-made products for our customers. Our latest innovation for aviation hearing protection is the Clarity Aloft Adapters (see video). Designed to fit effortlessly under a helmet, these can help pilots and operators listen better to audio and communicate comfortably. These can be easily attached to the speakers of your current headset so that earpieces fit inside your ear canals better.

Each set of Clarity Aloft Adapters is handmade. The manufacturing process begins with having an impression of your ears taken by our technician. This is made of silicone which hardens to take the shape of your ear canal. The molds are then sent to our laboratories where the custom adapters are created in four week’s time. Finally, the finished adapters are delivered in front of your doorstep, ready to be used for your aviation activities.

It is quite frustrating to see people spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a headset that has probably two-cent generic foam tips. Definitely, it defeats the purpose of having something that is supposed to be of high quality. Imagine a company spending millions to assemble top of the line planes then deciding to cut the budget for seating materials. In the case of aviation, you should not settle for less because communication is crucial for the safety and success of operations. Whether you are in the aircraft or control tower, communication is a top priority.

Points to Ponder

Perhaps owning a customized set of adapters for a headset may not be for everyone. At Big Ear, we completely understand that. However, what we offer is the option to experience something better and more comfortable. Think about the advantages and disadvantages. Find out what kind of lifestyle you really want. You can also research more and visit stores to scout for other products. But do remember to consider Clarity Aloft Adapters. If you decide to own one, we guarantee that you will never regret it.

For more information, visit our adapters page.


Why are “The One” Earplugs the Best Dental Earplugs?

Dental earplugs present a problem. How can a dentist hear everything they need to hear, all while protecting from tinnitus and hearing loss caused by loud noises?

Best Dental Earplugs

The One is the only hearing protection on the market that allows dentists to hear everything around them and clearly hear others while protecting their hearing. This “spatial awareness” is not available with any other dental hearing protection.  The One® for Dentists is the new industry standard. It is simply the Best Dental Earplug

After working with dentists from across the nation, we realized that they were unaware of the loud noise exposure that they are subject to every day. Whether the sound is from handpieces, pumps, or scalers, dentists hear dangerously loud noises daily. The proper steps toward protection are not always taken despite the severe effect that these sounds have on dentists’ hearing.

Other generic, one-size-fits-all products claim that they protect the hearing of dentistry professionals. This claim is only accurate if those earplugs were worn in the office without discomfort. However, they clearly cannot and do not because they give the dentist a blocked or “clogged” feeling in their ears outside of treating patients. Generic products do not all the dentist to hear both their equipment and other people in the office. This is because they plug the ear canal. They also also only mask, match, or recreate the sound around the ear without having the desired effect.

We’ve experienced this before with professional musicians.  They think they are protecting themselves from damage while rehearsing and playing. The musicians, often with very high-quality earplugs, and especially those with generic earplugs, developed tinnitus. Their hearing weakened. Their playing ability worsened. The musicians’ conductors had to either retire the players or move them down in rank as a result of the hearing damage. 

The same can be said for dentists: they must hear every tool and sound from their patient. They also must communicate with coworkers and technicians. Most importantly, they must not lose their hearing. They and their clinic will suffer reputational damage if this happens. In most cases, dentists stop wearing hearing protection altogether due to discomfort. This causes permanent hearing loss and tinnitus.

Custom Filtered Hearing Protection Explained

This is where The One comes into play. It has a dual-filtered hearing protection system that both protects your hearing and allows you to hear everything around you. Our product is superior to all others. The primary filter provides a flat noise reduction through all frequencies. It works as a screen door that allows sounds of a certain decibel to clear a reduction filter. This includes 9, 15, 20 and 25-decibel options.

The secondary, non-linear filter allows sounds under 85 decibels to pass through. This enables dentists to hear clearly and not experience the “clogged” feeling that other earplugs frequently cause. The secondary filter also acts as a vent. It equalizes pressure between the inside and outside of the ear.

The result is that the dentist hears clearly at work while operating and interacting with patients. They feel like they have nothing in the way of their hearing. Most importantly, they protect their ears at the same time.

We make the Best Dental Earplugs with a set of impressions of one’s ear. We found that the process of making earplugs is easy for dentists because they have experience making impressions of teeth. It is a fun little diversion to make impressions at the office or at home.

If and when you order the plugs, you receive our Big Ear home impression kit. You can make impressions for everyone in the office after following the instructions of a very short video. Once we have the impressions back, it usually takes 21 business days from the date of arrival of the impressions to complete the production. Rush service is also available at an additional charge. The earplugs come in several colors as well as in an less obvious option. Most patients do not notice the earplugs. 

We created the Best Dental Earplugs to stop the insanity of dental hearing loss. They also make the lifestyles of dentists more comfortable. Finally, the earplugs make dentistry less damaging to lifetime health.

Our guiding purpose is to protect your hearing and the hearing of those in your practice. This lets you provide your patients with the best version of yourself and also ensures that they get the care they need.

Glenn Hood


Big Ear 

How to choose the best Hearing Protection