Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 April 2013
To demonstrate that Blu-tack is equally effective at attenuating sound as over-the-counter ear plugs.
Nineteen healthy volunteers had their hearing thresholds assessed before and after the insertion of over-the-counter ear plugs. The results were compared with hearing thresholds following the insertion of Blu-tack. Thresholds were tested at: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 kHz. The differences were compared, and p values of less than 0.02 were regarded as significant. Using a visual analogue scale, volunteers were asked to assess the comfort and ease of insertion of the ear plugs and Blu-tack, and their peace of mind whilst using the ear plugs and Blu-tack.
Blu-tack was less effective at attenuating sound at low frequencies, but was as effective as over-the-counter ear plugs at attenuating sound above 3 kHz. Blu-tack was significantly more comfortable to wear (p = 0.006). There was no difference in terms of ease of insertion and peace of mind.
Blu-tack can be regarded as a comfortable alternative to over-the-counter ear plugs for the attenuation of everyday sound.