ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

3pNS6. History and development of the E-A-R[sup (registered)] foam earplug.

Ross Gardner, Jr.

Elliott H. Berger

Cabot Safety Corp., 7911 Zionsville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46268-1657

What does one do with a new vinyl material with exceptionally high energy absorption characteristics? Noise, vibration, and shock control come to mind. If the material can also be foamed and is safe for dermal contact, even broader applications could be anticipated. But, making it into a hearing protector---that's a step that no one took seriously until the first author of this paper, a chemist who drew on lessons learned through association with an acoustical consultant, decided to try making earplugs. His early work at National Research Corporation in the late 1960s, which he continued in the early 1970s after his research group was purchased by Cabot Corporation, led to the development of an exciting hearing protector, the E-A-R[sup (registered)] foam earplug. This earplug, commercially introduced in 1972, which provides an exceptional combination of comfort and attenuation, rapidly became the world's best-selling hearing protector, spawning numerous imitators and patent litigation in ten countries. The authors will share the story of the inception and development of this product as well as some of the concepts behind its success.

All posters will be on display from 1:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. To allow contributors an opportunity to see other posters, contributors of odd-numbered posters will be at their posters from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and contributors of even-numbered posters will be at their posters from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.