Get to Know CavCom: Our History

posted by Jeff Morrill

CavCom was founded on the idea of creating practical, effective solutions for companies facing high noise and communication challenges. Founded 20+ years ago, our solution-centered approach integrates extensive experience, proprietary cutting-edge technology, and dedicated customer support to address virtually any challenging communication solution. I’m Jeff Morrill, CavCom’s founder and President, and this is our story. 

CavCom: Our History

Jeff Morrill President and Founder of CavCom

The origins of CavCom stretch back to the early 1970s. Back then, I was the founder/owner of an audiologist-based company that developed hearing conservation services for noisy industries throughout North America. As an audiologist who conducted hearing tests and performed noise surveys, we worked with hearing protection programs for companies all across the United States. 

The 1970 OSHAct did not specify what constituted hearing conservation and I was one of a few field pioneers who independently and in parallel with OSHA scientists contributed to the final OSHA 1910.95 Hearing Conservation Amendment enacted in 1983. I was fortunate to have a front-row seat in the development and implementation of innovative solutions for affected companies and their workers. Throughout the years following the OSHA rule, I participated in professional organizations (AIHA, NHCA, CAOHC) via committee and task force activities to further the advancement of hearing conservation.

The new OSHA requirement mandated annual audiometric testing for employees, review of tests to detect deterioration of hearing, reporting negative shifts in hearing as OSHA recordable events, training in the use of hearing protection devices, conducting noise exposure surveys and more. Many industries differed with the mandate challenging enforcement and employees fought the mandate to wear hearing protection.

The task to convince employers of benefits to their company was difficult with the threat of OSHA looming over their heads. The difficulty in convincing employees of the health and safety payback was equally challenging. Thus, the successors in industrial hearing conservation service companies were those who developed convincing data for employers and employees as well as practical, affordable programs whereby the contractor absorbed the workload. My company was in the forefront of the effort and emerged as the largest provider of on-site hearing conservation services in North America at the time. Within my audiology-based testing company, two things became abundantly clear: 

  1. Employers were handing out hearing protection like popcorn. 
  2. Employees were losing their hearing. 

In addition to the lack of understanding about the risks of noise induced hearing loss, the availability of effective/dependable hearing protectors was limited at that time. The reality is that ears come in all shapes and sizes and the concept that one type/size of hearing protector could be used across all employees led to unnecessary hearing loss from noise exposure. You see, despite having access to more hearing protection than they knew what to do with, employee hearing was still in decline. As it turns out, a large part of the problem was due to the product. Back in the mid-70s, there wasn’t a large variety of hearing protection devices like there is today. Moreover, the types that were being worn were not adequate for the environments they were being worn in, and often fitting and training of hearing protector use was unavailable. 

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By immersing myself in these high noise industries, I also witnessed the difficulty workers had in communicating via radio headsets in high noise. The earmuffs did not offer adequate hearing protection and the radio signal could be significantly louder than the factory noise. These aviation style headsets were also hot and heavy and left workers fatigued at the end of the day. Having used these devices in my work, it was evident that a better technology could be developed to improve hearing protection, offer safer listening levels and enhance employee comfort. I saw the conditions employees were working in on a day-to-day basis. I also witnessed the struggle to communicate using radio headsets on the shop floor, maintaining a front-row seat to the evolution of hearing protection technology and industrial hearing conservation programs. I thought, there has got to be a better technology. There has to be something out there that’s able to protect each employee’s hearing.

Enter Talk Through Your Ears®

TTYE_Family2_cIt was from that space where the concept of CavCom, and its one-of-a-kind Talk Through Your Ears® (TTYE) technology originated. Now, TTYE is a revolutionary product within the realm of hearing conservation. It protects hearing, provides limited volume listening, and it’s comfortable to wear. Using an in-ear microphone inside the hearing protector, TTYE bypasses the issue of combating high noise environments by picking up communication within the ear canal, instead of from the mouth.

Years later, we adapted the technology to also function for in-suit communications, making it compatible with respirators. While TTYE is CavCom’s flagship product, we’ve gone on to develop a wide array of hearing protection and communication technologies to fit nearly every identifiable need.

The CavCom Team

If you ever listen to a founder and President, who says they did it all alone, know that I’m not in that camp. From the onset, CavCom has been a company where each individual shares the vision and passion that CavCom is built upon. Here’s a brief look at the individuals who join me as members of CavCom’s Executive Team.

Barb Morrill

As co-owner of CavCom, Barb has been with us since the early 2000s. During those early years, it was Barb running the business end of the company while I was managing the technical and selling components. Barb helped take what was a traditional, entrepreneurial startup and shape it into the company we are today. 

Beth Orton

As CavCom’s Vice President of Operations, Beth brings experience in finance, administration, and programming that remains essential to CavCom’s success and growth. She’s truly learning the business from the bottom to the top and owns expert-level knowledge in every aspect of what we do. 

Susan Cooper, PhD

Susan is a nationally-recognized expert in the area of hearing conservation. As a certified audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), she’s managed hearing conservation programs for nearly two decades. As CavCom’s Vice President of Technology, Susan is responsible for product technology, quality, and R&D efforts. Susan also serves as hearing conservation advisor and editor of our company newsletter. She is a former CAOHC chair, former President of NHCA, and currently serves on professional committees including the AIHA Noise Committee.

Looking Toward The Future

As the countless industries we serve continue to grow and evolve, so will our technologies. Whether it’s due to requirements changing or technology evolving into greater capabilities than once were, we’ll continue to invest in what it takes to get CavCom products to the employees who need protection. 

As our organization continues to grow, we’ve kept our products and their distribution in-house. We continue to believe that our customers deserve a level of service that only a manufacturer and inventor can provide. We manufacture it. We sell it. We service it. We fix it. We build on it. Here at CavCom we are – and we will continue to be - the true experts on everything we put out into the world. 

Providing hearing conservation solutions isn’t just our business. It’s our passion. There are folks out there who are losing their hearing. And once it’s lost, it’s not coming back. Hearing loss is a devastating problem that takes its toll on and off the clock. Just as much as we’re helping people hear on the job, we’re also trying to ensure grandparents can retire still being able to hear their grandkids say I love you. Put simply, preservation of hearing is our passion.

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