Multi-material earplugs fit comfortably
Traditional hearing protectors, including foam plugs and earmuffs, often fail because they don't fit properly, or workers remove them due to discomfort or an inability to hold a conversation while wea...
Traditional hearing protectors, including foam plugs and earmuffs, often fail because they don’t fit properly, or workers remove them due to discomfort or an inability to hold a conversation while wearing them. The Sonomax Solution system, developed by Sonomax Hearing Healthcare Inc. (Montreal), combines multiple materials to form comfortable and effective in-ear hearing protection.
The Sonomax Solution incorporates injection molded earplugs made of Bayer hypoallergenic silicone. The cord connecting the plugs is made of Bayer’s Texin 285 thermoplastic polyurethane and the cord safety-release anchors and Full Block filter inserts from Texin 245 thermoplastic polyurethane.
The silicone earplugs are molded by Silcotech North America (Bolton, ON). Michael Maloney, one of Silcotech’s founding partners, says the part was a challenge because of the complex geometry and very thin wall thickness. The silicone walls are as thin as 0.006 in. in places, “and there’s no real flat surfaces, which creates tricky shut-offs,” explains Maloney. One portion of the part is molded into a tubular shape with a small channel through the centre about 0.040 in. in diameter.
Sonomax selected the Bayer materials for their balance of favorable characteristics, including strength, elasticity and sensitivity.
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