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CES 2011: Ety Plugs — Earplugs from Etymotic Research

Hearing loss is a danger that all of our kids face, but is fortunately one that’s preventable. And while foam earplugs will get the job done at a concert or other place with loud noises, they also completely deaden the sound. Ety Plugs from Etymotic Research will keep your kid’s ears safe, while still providing great audio quality.
Etymotic ear plugs are inserted into the ear canal sealing off the ear. Sound then passes through Etymotic filters (originally developed for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) so that only what your ears can handle gets through without changing the sound quality. You hear what you want to hear, just at a lower (safer) volume. The ear tips also come in two different sizes for different-sized inner ears.

But are loud rock concerts or NASCAR events the only places you’ve got to worry about your kid’s hearing? Actually, a big danger to students’ ears are school bands. According to Etymotic, the daily exposure limit (the amount of time an ear can handle loud sound without damaging the ear) for a marching band is 7 seconds (based on 120 decibel level). With Ety Plugs, a band member can stand much longer durations of loud noise without hearing loss, and without losing the sound quality. In fact, many bands that are using them are finding that they are performing better than they previously were, because the players can now actually hear all of the other instruments.

But whether your kid is in the band at school or not, for $12.95 Ety Plugs are something I’d definitely check out. (Oh, and they also make what I think are the best earbud earphones out there.)

Check them out at Etymotic.com.

[Also: to support school music programs, Etymotic Research has started an "Adopt-A-Band" program, where parents and other sponsors can support a high school band by donating earplugs to the students. You can check that out.]

- Christopher Ford

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