Concept

Earplug

Summary
An earplug is a device that is inserted in the ear canal to protect the user's ears from loud noises, intrusion of water, foreign bodies, dust or excessive wind. Since they reduce the sound volume, earplugs are often used to help prevent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). The first recorded mention of the use of earplugs is in the Greek tale Odyssey, wherein Odysseus's crew is warned about the Sirens that sing from an island they will sail past. Circe, their hostess, tells them of the Sirens' bewitching song that makes men drive their boats ashore and perish. She advised Odysseus to fashion earplugs for his men from beeswax so they would not be lured to their deaths by the sirens' song. In 1907, the German company Ohropax, which would produce mainly wax earplugs, was started by the German inventor Max Negwer. Ray and Cecilia Benner invented the first moldable pure silicone ear plug in 1962. These earplugs were valued by swimmers because of their waterproof qualities, as well as those trying to avoid harmful noise. Ray Benner, who was a Classical musician, bought McKeon Products in 1962. At that time, the company's sole product was Mack's Earplugs (named after the original owner), which was a moldable clay earplug. The Benners quickly redesigned the product to a silicone version, which would become known as Mack's Pillow Soft Earplugs. Present-day earplug material was discovered in 1967, at National Research Corporation (NRC) in the US by Ross Gardner Jr. and his team. As part of a project on sealing joints, they developed a resin with energy absorption properties. They came to call this material "E-A-R" (Energy Absorption Resin). In 1972 the material was refined into commercial memory foam earplugs, made from either polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane. There are mainly four types of earplug fittings for hearing protection: Foam earplugs, mainly made from either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) (memory foam), which are compressed (rolled) and put into the ear canal, where they expand to plug it.
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