All custom products require ear mold impressions. Schedule an appointment with our expert audiologist to get your ear mold impression and place your custom-fit order. For universal-fit orders, you can schedule an appointment or contact us 314-313-2289 for ordering options. 

What is a balanced armature driver?

Are in-ear monitors just for musicians?

Custom earpieces and hearing protection orders typically take 2-4 weeks to arrive. Custom in-ear monitors can take 3-6 weeks. The time it takes orders to come in depends on the manufacturer. There are rush options available if you need your order sooner ​(additional fees apply to rush orders)

We have universal-fit models or comparable models of the in-ear monitors that we carry. We also have universal-fit, filtered hearing protection that offers a similar listening experience to our custom-fit filtered hearing protection. You can spend time listening to the demos so you can ensure you are getting the right product to meet your listening needs.  

Balanced armature (BA) drivers were originally developed for use in hearing aids and are still used for this application as they offer efficient drive and have the ability to be tuned to accommodate different hearing loss configurations. Operating on different functional principles than traditional dynamic, moving coil drivers, BA drivers are significantly more compact allowing for a more comfortable, electronically sensitive, and sonically accurate end result. The driver consists of a mini armature inside a coil of wire surrounded by two magnets. The top and bottom magnets determine the movement of the armature. When there is no net force on the armature, meaning it is at equal distance from both magnets, it is balanced. The armature is attached to the center of the diaphragm. When current flows through the coil, it magnetizes the armature, causing it to pivot towards either magnet. This pivoting movement will move the diaphragm. BA drivers can be tuned to cover specific frequencies giving a more precise response even in single driver in-ears and because they are compact, multiple drivers can be used in an in-ear monitor. Just like with a tower speaker, better fidelity is achieved with separate speakers for low, mid, and high frequencies and with multiple BA drivers, filtering is used to separate the range of frequencies allowing each driver to focus on a particular frequency range. 

With a proper isolating seal and when used correctly, custom in-ear monitors offer excellent ambient isolation that allows for lower listening levels and some noise attenuation; however, you are ultimately in charge of how loud you listen and IEMs are capable of being just as damaging as floor wedges. 


  • Know how loud you're listening-ask us about safe listening levels and how we can help you find out just how loud you have your in-ear monitors turned up. 
  • Re-train your ears-if you have been listening to floor wedges at a certain volume, the tendency is to turn the IEMs up to that same, usually unsafe, level, so you'll need to re-train your ears to listen at lower levels. 
  • Wear both earpieces-taking out one earpiece negates any isolation you would have had for that ear and, in order to compensate, it tends to lead to raising the volume on the earpieces that is still in.
  • Use a compressor/limiter to protect against bursts of feedback and RF transition hits.
  • Be aware of how the monitor mix and your monitoring system impacts the use of your in-ear monitors. 
  • The more isolation, the less need to turn the volume up and the more attenuation of ambient sounds.  The deeper the in-ears sit in the ear canal the greater isolation. Custom-fit in-ear monitors will provide better isolation and silicone ear pieces provide more isolation than acrylic. 

Contact us for more tips and with your questions, Dr. Gleghorn would be happy to consult with you regarding safe listening practices.

Who needs hearing protection?

Musician in-ear monitors

Sound Access PRODUCTS

Deeply-inserted foam earplugs can provide good sound attenuation, but they often are not inserted or worn correctly, decreasing their effectiveness. Standard, universal-fit earplugs are often uncomfortable when worn for prolonged periods. Our ears are unique and universal-fit isn't always so universal and many people are unable to wear universal earplugs.  Custom earplugs are made to specifically fit your ears, creating a more accurate and repeatable attenuation with increased comfort. Conventional earplugs reduce sound more in the high frequencies than in the mid and low frequencies, which makes voices and ambient sounds unclear and unnatural. Custom earplugs come in a variety of styles, including filtered options that allow for maintained clarity of speech and ambient surroundings with a more natural sound quality while still protecting your hearing from damaging loud sounds.  If you wear  disposable foam earplugs frequently, custom earplugs can also offer a more environmentally friendly alternative. 

A hearing evaluation is highly recommended. Annual hearing testing is an important step in hearing healthcare and hearing loss prevention. Hearing test results can also be one factor to help determine what product(s) are going to best meet your listening needs. If you ordered a product from us at an event where we did not have hearing testing available, you can schedule you're hearing test at a later date. 

In-ear monitors are not just for musicians! They are for anyone who wants a superior listening experience and they traditionally come with a standard earphone jack to use with your personal listening device. Custom options are great for individuals for whom universal ear tips don't fit well, for those with an active lifestyles who experience difficulty with universal-fit ear tips falling out, or for anyone who wants more comfort, function, and superior sound quality out of their earphones.  

Do in-ear monitors protect your hearing?

Why Custom Hearing Protection?

Do you sell accessories?

Is there a fee for the ear mold impression?​

How is the NRR used to determine level of exposure?

There is no additional fee for ear mold impressions taken for your custom order through Sound Access. We will make ear mold impressions for you without an order from us for a fee. 

Looking for details about manufacture specific technologies?

Click to learn more:  JH Audio / Sensaphonics / Westone 

How much hearing protection do I need?

How do I order?

Noise reduction rating (NRR)

Hearing loss risk from loud sounds is a function of the level of the sound, the length of time you are exposed to the sound, how often you are exposed, and individual factors of susceptibility.  Some individuals are more susceptible to hearing loss from high-level sound than others. Most activities and environments will not require the maximum available hearing protection. Dr. Gleghorn is happy to help you find the product with the right amount of attenuation to meet your individual hearing protection needs. ​

NRR is measured in decibels; however, the hearing protection device does not reduce the exposure level by the exact number of decibels associated with the NRR. For example, if you are exposed to 100 dB of noise and you are wearing earplugs with an NRR of 29 dB, your level of exposure would not be reduced to 71 dB. To determine the amount of decibel reduction (when decibels are measured in dBA), you take the NRR number (in dB), subtract seven, and then divide by two. Given the previous example, your noise reduction equation would by: (29-7)/2=11. This means that if you are exposed to a level of noise at 100 dB and are wearing hearing protection with an NRR of 29 dB, your level of noise exposure is 89 dB.

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is a unit of measurement used to help determine the effectiveness of hearing protection devices to decrease sound exposure and is categorized by the potential to reduce noise in decibels (dB). Hearing protection devices must be tested and approved by the American National Standards (ANSI) in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The higher the NRR associated with a hearing protector, the greater the potential for noise attenuation. The highest possible NRR for earplugs is 33.

Anyone exposed to loud sounds!

frequently asked questions

Sound Access Services

What if I have wax in my ears?

IMpulsive peak insertion loss

Dr. Gleghorn is an audiologist, trained in cerumen (wax) removal and will remove any wax from your ears if necessary for no additional fee prior to taking an ear mold impression. 

Hearing protection

Due to the way that NRR is tested, it doesn't reveal the attenuation of hearing protection for high level, short duration, impulse noises. Hearing protection devices function non-linearly with high dB SPL impulse noises such as gunshots. The ANSI S12.42-2010 standard created a metric for impulsive noise reduction, or Impulsive Peak Insertion Loss. The IPIL is not the same as the NRR rating but specifically measures how high level impulse noises are affected by a given hearing protection device. IPIL is the difference between the maximum estimated pressure for the open-ear condition (without hearing protection) and the maximum pressure measured when hearing protection  is in place.

Do I have to get my hearing tested?

How will I be able to demo a custom product?

How long does it take to get my custom order in?​

Yes, we sell accessories for all of the products we carry including, replacement cables for in-ear monitors; filters for Music and TRU earpieces, and EAS monitors; cleaning and care items; replacement cords and tubing for applicable earpieces; replacement universal-fit ear tips; and more.  

Have a question?

Contact Us: 


What is IPIL?

What is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?