E.A.R., Inc., has been involved in production electronic custom-fit ear protection for over 27 years. In the beginning, circuitry was extremely elementary, based on analog technology and a “peak clipping” matrix design. This meant that a sound entering the unit would be “clipped” at a pre-set determination within the circuits design. Most were pre-set around 82-86dB, which is the recommended safety range for noise exposure within an 8 hour period. The analog aspects also contained less filtering abilities which relayed more background sounds and white noise through the circuit and into the ear. This usually presented a more “cluttered” signal to reach the users ear as the distinction between accurate sound and distraction sounds could not be screened out very well.
As the circuitry improved and advanced into “compression” circuits and digital software programmability began, the fidelity of the perceived sound was cleaner and more distinct. These adjustments were noticed within vocal tones and background suppression, as well as programmability to adjust the units to perform at a higher level then ever before. Some of these units were still based on analog circuitry, but they did have a better perceived sound signal to the user’s ear.
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As digital circuitry has become the norm for many companies, improvements to all aspects escalated. Newer digital chips and software capabilities also opened the window to add additional features to units that were not available before.
Digital technology allowed the manufacturer to make the unit sound more “natural,” or “CD quality,” to the individual wearing it out in the field. This meant less distraction or distortions commonly heard within an analog technology unit, and also gave the user more ability to pick up important sounds that he/she were specifically listening for (ie, bird wings, dog movement, game sounds, human movement and commands, etc.). It also meant that we could begin market units that would address a hearing loss with more benefits within vocal tones and/or high frequency loss impairments.
Today we bring to the table several digital compression circuits that will be based on several things – applications, features, benefits and budgets. We hope that you will be able to understand our styles, options and descriptions described within each page. We are all here to help, so don’t be afraid to send us and email, or give us a call on the phone to discuss your questions.
All electronic earplugs that we sell are classified as “PSAP’s,” or Personal Sound Amplification Products. Although they are made with hearing aid components and help with amplification of surrounding sounds, they are still not sold as a “hearing aid” to any individual.