In 2004 I was at a technology conference at Syracuse University and came across a prototype hearing protection device under the patented name Zwislocki Ear Muffler. The concept intrigued me, but when I put them on, it really hit me. These are amazing! The noise in the room was dampened, yet I could still hear Dr. Zwislocki speak very clearly. It was at that moment that I realized that this little device was something special.
I think my background with hearing protection was pretty similar to that of most people. When I was young, I never even considered wearing hearing protection. Using power lawn mowers, attending races, going to concerts, exposed me to some very loud noise. I remember going to see a band in my mid-20’s, a notoriously loud rock band called the Good Rats. My ears were ringing for two days after. I knew I had done some damage and it is the first time I can recall paying attention to my hearing.
Fast forward a couple of decades. I now have a mild case of tinnitus, or ringing in the ear. I’m lucky that it doesn’t hamper my daily activities, but when I am in a quiet room and conscious of it, it sounds like someone trying to dial in a radio station, constantly. I also find myself asking my wife to repeat herself, seemingly more and more with each passing year.
I have tried wearing ear plugs from time to time, but they aren’t the right solution for me. To be effective, they should be inserted deep into the ear canal. Mine always seem to work their way out, so I guess that means I haven’t inserted them deeply enough. I don’t like the full pressure feeling I get in my ears and I am nervous about wax and infections.
I would from time to time use ear muffs, the passive, non-electronic kind. They were better than the plugs but still not the solution for me. They seemed to block out certain sounds more than others, kind of distorting my sense of hearing in a negative way. They also were uncomfortable, big, bulky and pretty tight on the side of my head.
So I try the Zwislocki Ear Muffler and I am amazed. I can hear everything, just at a reduced volume. They don’t go into my ears, but seat at the outside of my ear canal. I don’t even feel like they are on because they are so light.
Now that I am taking the protection of my hearing seriously, I finally have a device that can help me do exactly that. And I have an addiction now, a good addiction. I always have my SensGard SG-26’s with me around loud noise. That includes using the shop vac, the mower, the chainsaw, at the races, at the movie theater at the gun range – anywhere where noise could cause more damage.
I invite anyone that hasn’t found their “right” hearing protection to try these. If you can find something you like, you will just naturally use them more.
Let me know your hearing protection story.