Selecting the proper hearing protection is vital to ensuring the safety of employee hearing health. Employers must provide hearing protectors to all workers exposed to eight-hour TWA noise levels of 85 dBA or above. This requirement ensures that employees have access to protectors before they experience any hearing loss. Center for Industrial Audiometrics recommends three different protectors depending on the work and noise environment. Below are the pros and cons of each:

 

Pre-Formed or Molded Earplugs:

These types of hearing protectors must be individually sized and can be disposable or reusable. Reusable plugs should be cleaned after each use.

Pros:

  • Comfortable for extended use
  • Cooler in hot/humid environments
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons: 

  • Protection dependent on deep fit
  • Hygiene issues in dirty work areas
  • Critical to select proper size

 

Banded Ear Plugs:

It’s important to make sure users of banded ear plugs don’t overstretch the band. This helps maintain the placement and support of the ear tips.

Pros:

  • Convenient for intermittent noise
  • Readily available around neck when not in use

Cons: 

  • Lower protection than most plugs
  • Some noise transmission through band

 

Earmuffs:

These types of hearing protectors require a perfect seal around the ear. Glasses, facial hair, long hair or facial movements such as chewing may reduce the protective value of earmuffs.

Pros: 

  • Easy to get proper fit
  • Good for intermittent noise
  • Multiple wear styles to accommodate other PPE

Cons: 

  • Can feel hot/heavy with extended wear
  • Higher cost than ear plugs and bands

Center for Industrial Audiometrics is equipped to help your employees select the best hearing protection for them. By utilizing Fit Testing, we can further ensure accurate attuneation for each individual’s protection equipment.

Contact us today for a consultation!

https://ciahearing.com/
4300 Rogers Avenue
Suite #15
Fort Smith, AR 72903
(479) 785-3277