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Colorado Springs

Audiology, Inc.

 

Phone  719.520.1155

LOCATION  & DIRECTIONS

Dr. Gene McHugh

Licensed Audiologist

in Colorado

 

 

OFFICE HOURS

Mountain Time USA

Mon-Thurs

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Closed Fridays

 

 © Copyright 2021

   EAR PLUGS FOR PATIENTS WITH
HYPER-SENSITIVITY TO LOUD SOUNDS

 

 

USING MUSICIAN'S EAR PLUGS TO TREAT PATIENTS WITH HYPER-ACUSIS    

 

 

 
    Musician's earplugs have been very helpful for some of our patients suffering from hyperacusis (i.e., over-sensitivity to loud sounds) secondary to concussive injury Patients report improvement in cognitive skills, especially in noise, taking the edge off of very loud environments and reducing stress levels commonly occurring in cases with closed head injuries.  The earplugs are customized and therefore require ear impressions be taken on the patient's ears and the impressions sent to an earmold lab for fabrication.    
 

    

    We use Westone Labs for our lab.  The Musician's Earplugs (Style #49) are fit with ER-9, ER-15 and/or ER-25 insert acoustic filters.  Effectively, the earplugs take the edge off of loud sounds without significantly reducing sound reception.   Cost for a set in both ears is $225.00.

 

 

Onthe left are the filter inserts for the custom musician's plugs.  The filters have various levels of attenuation (i.e., dB reduction) with 9dB being the least attenuation to 25dB having the greatest attenuation. Musicians tend to prefer the lesser ER-9 and ER-15 filters, whereas patients with acoustic hypersensitivity tend to prefer the ER-25's.  The determination of filter is based upon loudness tolerance testing in the sound booth.  Patients with very low tolerance to loud sounds; i.e., anything above 75dB being too loud to tolerate, prefer the greater (25dB) attenuation filters.  

 

     Persons with closed head injuries often complain of hypersensitivity to loud noises for years following head trauma.  The problem can be so severe these patients will refrain from going to regular restaurants, movies, or even the library, in order to escape the noise.  This is called "phonophobia."  

THE ISSUE OF TREATING VS NOT TREATING PATIENTS WITH HYPERACUSIS   

The issue of treating patients that are hypersensitive to loud noise in this manner is controversial.  Many in the field of audiology and otolaryngology believe patients must learn to tolerate our normally loud world.  Also, other therapies exist to help people become accustomed  to loud sounds.  However, when people cannot or will not participate in activities in even slightly loud environments due to hyperacusis, this is a handicapping situation and where we have found the musician's plugs most helpful.