3M E-A-R Classic Earplugs, Pillow Paks


Hello, I am Alley at Burger Senior scientist
for a prior research for the 3M occupational Health and environmental Safety Division.
This short film is one in a series of videos that we have created to help our customers
use our products more effectively. In the next few minutes, I will discuss key points
of properly and safely wearing a pre-moulded earplug like the EAR Brand UltraFit Hearing
Protector. Although wear plugs are relatively easy to use if you pay attention to these
tips you will likely get better and more consistent levels of protection. Proper insertion of
an earplug may seem obvious just stick it in your ear. However, for many of us bands
and shape changes in the ear canal make it difficult to fit the plug well so the key
when you are first learning how to use an earplug or another style of earplug is to
first reach over your head with a hand opposite the ear that has been fitted and grasp the
ear firmly and pull it upwards and outwards. The reason that we do this as shown here is
that pulling on the ear changes the shape of ear canal opening. It straightens and enlarges
the ear canal to make it easier to push the plug into place. By the way, I want you to
reach over your head to pull on your ear with the hand opposite the ear that has been fitted
so that you can bring in the earplug to the ear with the same hand as the ear you are
fitting. This gives you better control of the earplug for a better insertion, so for
example use your right hand to insert the earplug into your right ear. For different
people the direction of pull will vary somewhat but in all cases you begin by firmly grasping
the ear between the thumb and forefinger and pulling it away from the side of your head.
If you feel resistance as you begin to insert the earplug then try pulling the ear in different
directions and what you may find is that suddenly the plug slides in more easily. Also depending
upon your ear canal shape and texture and your familiarity with the plugs it can be
helpful to moisten the plug before you begin. Since the UltraFit Plug is a one size product
it will fit differently in your canals of different sizes that is shown here for extra
small, medium, and extra-large ear canals. Note how in the extra-large ear canal the
trailing edge of the last flange of the earplug is about flush with the entrance of the ear
canal. However, for the canals that get smaller and smaller more and more the flanges will
be exposed. There are four easy tests to check the fit of your earplugs to let you know if
refitting is needed. The first is to listen to your own voice, say the words boom, beat
and pay attention to the sound of your voice with a properly fitted earplug you will create
an occlusion effect that changes the sound of your voice as heard by you. This will make
your words seem boomy, resident, hollow, more full, or we might say bassy. You will have
noticed that in the sound track we have mimicked that effect by changing the sound quality.
If you don’t hear there is boominess in your own voice then try refitting the earplug.
You can also compare the sound of your voice between the two ears to make sure it is balanced
and appears to be in the center of your head indicating that both plugs are fit the same.
The next two tests, the tug test and the pump test rely on the fact that for a plug to be
well fitted it must make an airtight seal within the ear canal. So for example if you
try and remove the plug by gently tugging on it you will notice that there is resistance
as if you were trying to remove a stopper from a bottle. If the plug easily slides out
of the ear without any resistance then that’s an indication that the plug was probably not
sealed. The pump test is similar, take the stem of the plug and gently pump it in and
out of your ear canal. On the in stroke you are compressing the trapped air and on the
outstroke you are releasing the pressure. This compression and release will push and
pull on the eardrum moving it back and forth. You will feel as though you are going up and
down in an elevator or ascending and descending in an aeroplane. If all you feel during the
pumping is the sense of touch in your rear canal and you don’t feel any of this pressure
change then the plug is not properly sealed. The fourth and final test is to listen to
your ears. There is a couple of ways you can do this. If you begin by listening in the
presence of a steady noise inserting both earplugs well you should notice that the sound
is balanced between the two ears. If one ear is substantially louder that plug isn’t fit
as well and you should try and insert that plug better to get more of a sound balance
or create makeshift ear muffs by pressing your fingers tightly together and sealing
your palms over your ear. If you have your plugs well fit underneath then your cup hands
will not have much of an effect on the sound quality but if the plugs are poorly fitted
you will have a very noticeable reduction in the sound level when you cup your hands
over your ear. Keep in mind that although well fit plugs should be snugged they may
work loose with time because of talking, moving your hand, or chewing food for example so
listen to your ears and if you notice a change in the sound levels then be sure to refit
those earplugs during the day. When you are ready to remove your earplugs please do so
with care since the plugs make an air tight seal in your ear yanking them out quickly
can be painful. Make sure you twist the plug slightly and remove them slowly and don’t
be a smart aleck and yank someone else as your plugs out that would also be painful
for them. One more thing Ultra Fit Earplugs are durable but they do wear out. Check your
plugs to make sure that they are still soft and pliable that the flanges aren’t cracked
or separated at all from the stem of the earplug. If you see any of these problems get a new
pair. Thank you for your time and now it is up to you. Try these suggestions that you
are willing to practice, pay attention to your ears, you will be rewarded with a lifetime
of good wisdom.

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