USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Improved Noise Attenuation Foam for In the Ear Hearing and Noise Devices

Award Information

Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
R43DC011707
Solicitation Year:
2011
Solicitation Topic Code:
NIDCD
Solicitation Number:
PA10-050
Small Business Information
Hearing Components, Inc.
420 HAYWARD AVE NO. OAKDALE, MN 55128-
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Improved Noise Attenuation Foam for In the Ear Hearing and Noise Devices
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43DC011707-01
Award Amount: $108,750.00
 

Abstract:

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Viscoelastic foam earplugs are commonly used for personal hearing protection to help reduce the incidence of hearing loss; however, many work environments exist where the protection from currently available earplugsis insufficient. In addition, the ability of existing foam earplugs to attenuate low frequency energy is relatively poor. Pilot experiments were able to produce viscoelastic foam constructions of substantially higher controlled structure than believed tobe found in currently available viscoelastic foam earplugs. Even with minimal optimization, this structure contributed to substantially higher overall attenuation gt3 dB and some very significant low frequency (250-1000 Hz) attenuation improvements; gt 4 dB. Thus, an opportunity exists to improve the attenuation resulting from the commercial production of viscoelastic foam earplugs. An increase of 3dB attenuation allows the user to double their exposure time in the sound field for which the hearing protector is rated. This Phase I project will be divided into three stages: 1. Verifying the results from the pilot samples. The results of our pilot experiments will be verified through collaboration with acoustic experts. The comparative attenuation of the samples will be measured using an impedance tube measurement system. 2. Characterizing and comparing the foam structures of these new foams and existing commercial foam earplugs. The foam structures will be measured using mercury intrusion porosimetry, x-ray micro CT scanning, and microscopy. 3. Optimizing the foam structure by comparing attenuation of varied 'controlled structure foams'. The structures of the new foams will be varied using known techniques and the resulting effects on attenuation will be measured. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Daily many tens of millions of Americans have their hearing exposed to potentially damaging noise. Foam earplugs are inexpensive, comfortable and widely used; however, they do not always provide enough protection, especially in high-noise industrial and military work environments or in low frequency noise. Success with this research to improve foam attenuation at all frequencies will result in a more effective foam earplug, reducing incidence of hearing loss - the most common industrial injury.

Principal Investigator:

William Parish
651-739-9427
wparish@hearingcomponents.com

Business Contact:

William Parish
651-739-9427
wparish@hearingcomponents.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

HEARING COMPONENTS, INC.
420 HAYWARD AVE NO. OAKDALE, MN 55128-

EIN/Tax ID: 141166939
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No