Damage to the tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear is irreversible.The Noise at Work regulations require that any persons working in noise levels between 80 dBA and 85 dBA must be provided with suitable hearing protection. If noise levels are above 85dBA then hearing protection must be worn. In addition, the new Exposure Limit Value requires that no worker may be exposed to more than 87dBA 8 hour equivalent under any circumstances, taking into account any hearing protection worn.
There are also new action values for impact noise and the requirement for Risk Assessments. As part of risk assessment, a noise meter should be used to monitor sound level.
SNR (single number rating) is only a general means of comparing differing ear protection, generally
the higher the SNR number the higher the performance
of the ear protection across a range of noise frequencies.
European Standards fo Hearing Protection
The new European Directive for PPE 89/686/EEC has led to the introduction of European Standard EN352 to cover ear protection.
EN352 Part 1: Ear Muffs
EN352 Part 2: Ear Plugs
EN352 Part 3: Helmet mounted Ear Muffs
EN352 Part 4: Level dependent Ear Muffs
EN352 Part 5: Active Noise Reduction Ear Muffs
EN352 Part 6: Ear Muffs with Electrical Audio Input
EN352 Part 7: Level Dependant Ear Plugs
Choosing the Right Hearing Protection
Traditional method of ear protection. The modern range of ear muffs cope with a very wide spectrum of industrial hazards. It is important to study the attenuation characteristics of each model as they do vary in performance across the range of sound frequency.
These can be worn conveniently with all other PPE items. They are easy to use, with attenuation provided often exceeding that of ear muffs. Whilst disposable, they provide excellent long-term protection. Most ear plugs are also available in a corded version and can be carried around the neck when not in use.Semi-Aurals (Banded Hearing Protection)Stored conveniently and unobtrusively around the neck when not in use, this is the perfect product for supervisors, managers and others who move intermittently in and out of noise hazardous areas.
Tracers These are metal detectable ear plugs and have an easy to see blue vinyl cord making them ideal for the food manufacturing industry.
Helmet Mounted Ear Muffs Popular with safety officers, head and ear protection in one. Styled to be sensibly parked when not in use.Electronic Hearing ProtectionThe latest in sound technology – hearing protectors that amplify weak sounds whilst attenuating loud noises.Communication Head SetsFor people covering large areas within a noisy environment, ear muffs that incorporate communication system.