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Comfortable, Easy-To-Fit, Deep-Insert Earplug

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Health Agency
Contract: W81XWH21C0098
Agency Tracking Number: H2-0642
Amount: $1,099,964.62
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: DHA19C-001
Solicitation Number: 19.C
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-08-16
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-12-15
Small Business Information
4101 E Fanfol Dr
Phoenix, AZ 85028-1111
United States
DUNS: 080135186
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Anthony Dietz
 (602) 396-8566
Business Contact
 Anthony Dietz
Phone: (602) 396-8566
Research Institution
 Arizona State University
 Lindsey Forry
660 S Mill Ave Suite 312
Tempe, AZ 85281-3670
United States

 (480) 727-4203
 Nonprofit College or University

Effective hearing protection is essential for service members who work in hazardous noise environments and for whom permanent or even temporary hearing damage affects performance, endangers lives, and reduces quality of life. Various devices have been developed to attenuate high levels of impulse and continuous noise while allowing low-level sounds to pass through. However, issues with comfort, ease-of-use, fit, and performance prevent widespread adoption and cause reductions in field performance compared to laboratory ratings. Furthermore, amplification of internal bone-conducted sounds in occluded ear canals increases discomfort and can mask other sounds, affecting communications and situational awareness. Paxauris’s innovative deep-insert earplug addresses these issues. It is easily inserted and removed, remains comfortable when worn for long durations, and creates a reliable acoustic seal deep in the ear canal. This deep seal maximizes attenuation while minimizing the occlusion effect. The result is a high-performance, reusable earplug that achieves a consistent, comfortable fit without the need for custom ear molds. In Phase I we demonstrated the feasibility of the Paxauris earplug by modifying our design for high-volume manufacture, fabricating production representative prototypes, and demonstrating the earplug’s performance on a biofidelic acoustic test fixture while also demonstrating fit, usability, and durability. An important aspect of our results is that due to our earplug’s innovative design, which makes it simple to insert correctly and hard to insert incorrectly, we do not expect significant degradation in performance between laboratory and field attenuation ratings. In Phase II we will further mature the design though an iterative development cycle before conducting qualification testing on production-representative prototype earplugs in our acoustic test facility using a biofidelic head simulator in the first year and following this with human-subject verification testing in the second year. We plan to conduct a field trial of the earplugs in a Phase II Enhancement. In Phase III we will commercialize the earplugs for military and civilian markets.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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