Digital Method for Improved Custom Hearing Protection Equipment
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-153
Topic Title: Digital Method for Improved Custom Hearing Protection Equipment
Proposal No.: N082-153-0340
Firm: Adaptive Technologies, Inc.
2020 Kraft Drive
Suite 3040
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060
Contact: Ean Schiller
Phone: (540) 951-1284
Web Site:
Abstract: Custom fitting hearing protection ear plugs have been shown to provide substantial benefits for personnel working in high noise environments such as around military aircraft and in a range of other war fighter and civilian industrial scenarios. Current manufacturing processes for shaping custom ear plugs require that physical impressions be taken of customers ear canals. Since this involves injecting silicone material directly into the ear, physical impression taking can be uncomfortable for the customer and yield results which will vary with the skill and technique of the practitioner. The focus of this Phase I program is to develop new means, based on Computed Tomography (CT) imaging technology, for capturing ear anatomy information without the need for physical impressions. Eliminating the physical impression will also eliminate the associated discomfort and variability and lead to more satisfied customers getting more reliable hearing protection. This Phase I program will further demonstrate initial feasibility of completing a custom earplug manufacturing process using only digital data, starting from a non-invasive CT scan through production to a finished hearing protector product. A report describing the approach and initial demonstration of the new capabilities will be provided at the conclusion of this work.
Benefits: Successful development of a completely non-invasive approach to digitizing ear anatomy will substantially streamline the production of custom hearing protectors. The customer experience, and consistency of the data, will be improved over physical impression taking procedures. This Phase I program will help manufacturers more efficiently produce better hearing protection for any personnel working in high noise environments.