Next Generation Earplugs - A Deep Insert Solution
MetadataShow full item record
Noise-induced hearing loss can in most cases be prevented with conscious use of hearing protection devices. Even though there seems to be much more attention directed towards attenuation levels of these devices, there are several indications of comfort being just as - if not more - important. A lot of the commercially available hearing protection devices seem to be a compromise between degree of sealing and comfort. The present work was conducted to explore possibilities for, and develop concepts to, a deep insert earplug solving these compromise issues. An extensive literature study laid the foundation for the conceptual designs that were developed. As a result, a water-filled deep insert earplug with a controllable sealing part was developed through rapid prototyping and the wayfaring design model. The progression was driven by continuous testing of comfort and functionality, eventually leading to the final deep insert earplug concept. An automated test method, New Early Warning Test, was utilized to indicate the attenuation levels of the prototypes. The deep insert earplug was tested at different ear canal depths and compared with commercially available hearing protection devices. Attenuation levels at well over 30 dB were shown to be yielded by the prototypes. The benefits of an earplug sealing deep in the ear canal have been indicated. Moreover, the advantages of utilizing water as a medium for both attenuation and hydraulic control of the sealing part in hearing protection applications have been revealed.