Hearing Protection

How Loud Is Too Loud?

How does noise damage your hearing and how much noise exposure does it actually take to cause hearing loss?

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Protect Your Hearing Before The Damage Is Done

Hearing loss has many causes, but age-related (presbycusis) hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are the two most common types. Permanent NIHL damage can be the result of a one-time extreme noise event or consistent, long-term exposure to loud noise of various levels.

Statistics show that:

  • Over 1 billion people globally are at a high risk of developing a noise-induced hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and teens and young adults ages 12-35 are increasingly vulnerable to developing a permanent hearing loss as a result of noise exposure from personal audio devices and loud noise exposure in social settings.
  • Over 11 million Canadians (42%) worked in noisy environments in 2012 and 2013, or had done so in the past, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Fortunately, this type of hearing loss is preventable through the use of hearing protection. While generic earplugs provide adequate protection in some cases, investing in custom ear protection ensures maximum protection against loud noise, greater wearing security and a more comfortable fit.

Davidson Hearing Aid Centres offers custom hearing protection for a broad range of lifestyles, occupations and activities.

Understanding Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

How does loud noise damage my hearing?

Hairlike sensory cells located in the cochlea of the inner ear are essential to the process of converting incoming soundwaves into the electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain, which interprets them as meaningful sounds. Exposure to loud noise causes these hair cells to lose their sensitivity, reduce their ability to transmit sound and eventually deteriorate to the point of no longer being able to function.

Depending on the length of time you’re exposed, damage to your hearing can occur due to any type of noise above 85 decibels (dB). Common household, work, recreational and social activity noises without protection can do permanent damage to your hearing, including:

  • 90 dB: lawnmower
  • 95 dB: electric drill
  • 100 dB: nightclub, train, snowmobile
  • 110 dB: power saw, jackhammer, motorcycle
  • 120 dB: ambulance siren, chainsaw, rock concert
  • 130 dB: stock car race, jet engine
  • 140 dB: airplane takeoff
  • 145 dB: fireworks
  • 150 dB: shotgun blast

If you regularly take part in occupational, recreational or social activities that involve ongoing exposure to these and similar noises, consider custom hearing protection to limit their effect on the future of your hearing without giving up on your lifestyle.

Benefits of Custom Earmolds and Earplugs

There are several reasons why custom earmolds and earplugs provide the best solution for protecting your ears from NIHL, such as:

  • Providing a more complete seal for greater protection
  • Greater wearing comfort for extended wear
  • A more secure fit when you’re active
  • More accurate frequency response to a full range of sounds
  • Preventing reverberation inside your ears by allowing sound to pass both ways
  • Precision-engineered filters for specific, measurable protection and more natural sound
  • Replaceable sound filters allowing you to change sound protection for different activities
  • Medical-grade silicone construction for decreased skin irritation
  • Unique fitting for each ear

Custom Hearing Protection From Davidson Hearing Aid Centres

We offer a wide array of custom ear molds and hearing protection options. We have provided information below about many of the most common models that we do. Please contact us if you would like more information on these products, or if there is something else that you are looking for.

Hearing Aid

Custom Solid Noise Plugs

These solid noise plugs offer the most hearing protection in our range, providing a maximum of 28dB of attenuation. They are typically made of silicone material and offer far more comfort versus foam plugs.

They are available in a wide range of colours and we can add cords or clips to help keep them in place.

Price: $200 for a pair (or $100 each)

Hearing Aid

Custom Sleep Plugs

These solid noise plugs are contoured to allow the user to lay on a pillow comfortably. They are typically made of silicone material and offer far more comfort versus foam plugs. They are also a good option for motorcyclists as the reduced size will fit more comfortably under a helmet.

They are available in a wide range of colours.

Price: $200 for a pair (or $100 each)

Hearing Aid

Custom Swim Plugs

These solid swim plugs are designed to create a good seal in the ear to help reduce the chances of getting water into the ear canal. They are made of floating silicone material.

They are available in a wide range of colours.

Price: $200 for a pair (or $100 each)

Acoustic Filtered Plugs

By using an acoustic filter, we are able to preserve much of the ability to hear speech , but still provide a fair bit of protection from high frequency sounds. Ideal for those individuals who work in moderate noise, but still need to be able to communicate. They are typically made of silicone material and offer increased comfort and better speech inteligibility versus foam plugs.

They are available in a wide range of colours.

Price: $200 for a pair (or $100 each)

Hearing Aid

Custom ER Musicians Plugs

When sound quality is of the utmost importance, but you still want to protect your hearing, the custom ER musicians plugs are the best option. We work with the custom high-fidelity earplugs developed by ETYMOTIC over 25 years ago, following president Dr. Mead Killion’s participation in a noise study for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. They are still the highest fidelity of any earplugs available. Musicians Earplugs are a custom product, made individually for each user by first taking an impression of your ear canal. They are available in three different levels of sound attenuation. The ER•9 with the lowest attenuation at 9dB, the ER•15 which is the most commonly used with 15dB attenuation and the ER•25  with the most attenuation at 25 dB. 


  • Reduces sound levels evenly so that music and speech are clear and natural, not muffled as with other earplugs
  • Reduces risk of hearing damage for many noisy occupations and noisy venues, such as airshows, parades, athletic events and motor sports
  • Enhances the music experience for audiences while protecting hearing
  • Lets musicians hear their own instrument and their blend with others

Which Musicians Earplug is Right for You?

  ER•9 ER•15 ER•25 ETY20 Harmful Sound Comes From:
Small strings   Own instrument, other strings
Large strings   Brass
Woodwinds     Brass, percussion
Brass   Own instrument, other brass
Flutes     Percussion
Percussion   Own instruments, other percussion
Vocalists   Own voice, speakers, monitors
Acoustic guitar   Drums, speakers, monitors
Amplified instruments   Speakers, monitors
Marching bands     Multiple sources
Music teachers     Multiple sources
Recording engineers     Speakers, monitors
Sound crews     Speakers, monitors

(Please note that the ETY20 model listed in the chart is for the non-custom version)

Musicians practice and perform in a variety of different settings. They are exposed to high levels of sound, sometimes for long periods and may require different amounts of protection depending on sound levels encountered during rehearsals and performance. Some musicians use one type of attenuator in one ear and one type in the other, depending on the source and location of the sound.

Price: $270 for a pair (or $135 each) 

Serenity Choice Filtered Plugs

Serenity Choice™ are high-end hearing protection solutions designed to reduce noise and loud sounds while allowing the ear to breathe and keeping relevant sound and speech. They offer both custom options as well as off-the-shelf hearing protection solutions. The off-the-shelf models are available in 6 different filter configurations, each designed to speciffically address a different listening needs. These include:

  • Sleep
  • Work
  • Comfort
  • Motorsports
  • Hunting & Shooting
  • Music

Each comes with a case and a range of small, medium and large sleeves to fit most ear sizes. An XL sleeve is availalble by special order if required. Links to our online store with more information about each model are available below.