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SBIR Phase I:Comfortable, Easy-to-Insert Hearing Protection Earplug

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2233135
Agency Tracking Number: 2233135
Amount: $274,976.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: MD
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-551
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-06-30
Small Business Information
64 Bonner Rd.
Meriden, NH 03770
United States
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Marc Ramsey
 (603) 346-4687
 marc.ramsey@rapatec.com
Business Contact
 Marc Ramsey
Phone: (603) 346-4687
Email: marc.ramsey@rapatec.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is a novel hearing protection device which reduces the societal cost of noise induced hearing loss. Noise induced hearing loss is the one of the most prevalent occupational injuries in both US industry and the military, affecting more than 10 million workers at a total preventable economic cost exceeding $100 billion. Most employers rely primarily on personal hearing protection devices to limit exposure on a sustained basis. However, issues limit their real-world performance and leave a majority of wearers with sub optimal protection. Up to 80% of workers wear hearing protection in an inconsistent manner which significantly reduces their effectiveness. This project aims to develop a novel passive hearing protection device which significantly increases hearing protection by incorporating a pass-through communications channel in a form factor that enables proper insertion, comfort, and convenience, and is suitable for long term use and compliance. _x000D__x000D_
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop an earplug that incorporates a novel geometric design and materials to provide unique, tailored physical and acoustic properties. The design significantly increases sound reduction while preserving frequency balance and speech intelligibility to accommodate pass-through communications, in a form factor that enables greater comfort and convenience than traditional devices. Theoretical modelling of sound attenuation will be translated into prototypes that demonstrate performance measures in laboratory test fixtures, followed by a patient validation study. The project aims to demonstrate that the company’s new ear plug provides superior sound protection of up to 40 dB suppression while enabling improved communication.Incorporation of attributes preferred by users enables greater adoption compared to existing designs._x000D_
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This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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

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