Evaluation of Custom Hearing Protection Fabricated from Digital Ear Scanning and Traditional Methods
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL FORT RUCKER
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hearing protection of custom earplugs made from six different fabrication methods. Three digital ear scanning methods, traditional physical ear impressions, digital scans of physical impressions, and a 3D printing method was used to create custom earplugs for 20 volunteer subjects. The hearing protection of the custom earplugs was evaluated by standard test methodologies according to the American National Standards Institute ANSI S12.6-2016. A questionnaire was used to assess subjective comfort for each type of custom earplug. Results indicate traditional physical impressions produced significantly higher attenuating custom earplugs with the least comfort compared to all other custom earplug fabrication methods. Custom earplugs made from digital ear scanning methods were not significantly different from each other in terms of attenuation or comfort but were significantly better than the physical impression method for comfort.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Protective Equipment