IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Design of Artificial Ears for the Purpose of Studying Noise Mitigation and the Occlusion Effect of Ear Plugs Using MRI Imaging


Every day, some 360,000 Quebec workers are exposed to noise levels that can lead to hearing problems. Personal hearing protectors are often used to address these problems, but their lack of comfort reduces the length of time they are actually worn and thereby their effectiveness.

The aim of this study is to develop tools for the acoustic design of hearing protectors, with a view to minimizing the auditory discomfort they cause, while at the same time ensuring appropriate mitigation of noise levels. Examples of hearing discomfort are (1) deterioration in the quality of communication (hearing and speaking), (2) increased difficulty hearing machine noise and important warning signals and (3) the occlusion effect. The occlusion effect is characterized by an increase in low-frequency sound pressure at the eardrum created by sources inside the human body (voice, breathing, etc.).

The research team wants to design 3-D digital geometric models of the outer ear, developed from live MRI imaging. It also hopes to create new, more realistic artificial ears for the purpose of measuring mitigation and the occlusion effect.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2016-0020
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2020
  • Olivier Doutres (École de technologie supérieure)
  • Franck Sgard (IRSST)
  • Éric Wagnac (École de technologie supérieure)
  • Simon Benacchio (École de technologie supérieure)