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Reduction of the occlusion effect induced by earplugs using quasi perfect broadband absorption


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Carillo, Kévin, Sgard, Franck, Dazel, Olivier and Doutres, Olivier. 2022. « Reduction of the occlusion effect induced by earplugs using quasi perfect broadband absorption ». Scientific Reports, vol. 12, nº 1.
Compte des citations dans Scopus : 2.

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Passive earplugs are used to prevent workers from noise-induced hearing loss. However, earplugs often induce an acoustic discomfort known as the occlusion effect. This phenomenon corresponds to an increased auditory perception of the bone-conducted part of physiological noises at low-frequency and is associated with the augmentation of the acoustic pressure in the occluded earcanal. In this work, we report a new concept of passive earplugs for mitigating the occlusion effect between 100 Hz and 1 kHz. The strategy consists in reducing the input impedance of the earplug seen from the earcanal by using quasi-perfect broadband absorbers derived from the field of meta-materials. The proposed “meta-earplug” is made of 4 critically coupled Helmholtz resonators arranged in parallel. Their geometry is optimized using an evolutionary algorithm associated with a theoretical model of the meta-earplug input impedance. The latter is validated against a finite-element approach and impedance sensor measurements. The meta-earplug is manufactured by 3D printing. Artificial test fixtures are used to assess the occlusion effect and the insertion loss. Results show that the meta-earplug induces an occlusion effect approximately 10 dB lower than foam and silicone earplugs while it provides an insertion loss similar to the silicone earplug up to 5 kHz.

Item Type: Peer reviewed article published in a journal
Doutres, Olivier
Affiliation: Génie mécanique
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2022 14:44
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2022 13:26

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