Why is hearing fit testing so important?

Why is hearing fit testing so important?


Have you ever wondered whether you should perform a hearing fit test? Whatever the answer, the important thing is to know the benefits of wearing the adequate protection.

Protecting your hearing is paramount, and you need personal protective equipment (PPE) that meets your protection needs. Many Canadians use the wrong equipment or none at all. According to Canadian studies, 39% of people working in noisy environments do not use hearing protection. 

Moreover, across Canada, hearing protection must be worn when noise exposure is 85 dbA or higher. And, in order to provide suitable hearing protection, your PPE must be adapted to your work environment. That’s where fit testing comes in!

Hearing fit testing is a process whereby a system measures the hearing protection equipment’s actual noise attenuation level. In other words, it measures the level of protection offered by equipment such as earplugs in the context of a particular individual’s work. You’ll need a personal attenuation estimation system to carry out a hearing fit test. 

This type of system calculates the Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR). It’s important to note that this is not the same as the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). According to CSA Standard Z94.2-94 Hearing Protection Devices—Performance, selection, care and use, the NRR contains a single number representing the overall level of noise attenuation achieved with these protectors. However, this index is obtained in the laboratory and does not consider working conditions.  

There is still work to be done…

The latest statistics show that the use of hearing protection is still too low in Canada. In fact, 4,017 workplace accidents associated with excessive noise exposure were recorded in 2021. This does not include workers who have to live with partial or complete hearing loss on a daily basis as a result of their former employment.

To help you find the proper hearing protection, Honeywell has put together this list of earmuffs and earplugs for you.

The benefits of hearing protection fit testing 

  • Let’s see why hearing protection fit tests are becoming an increasingly recommended best practice for improving hearing loss prevention.
  • Limits under- and over-protection
  • Measures personal attenuation rating
  • Selects a protector that is ergonomically adapted to the ear’s anatomy
  • Reduces the risk of developing hearing loss
  • Allows you to use the hearing protection that’s right for you and your workplace
  • Creates an opportunity to properly train employees on how to adequately use their hearing protection equipment
  • Employees will be more inclined to use and keep their hearing protection
  • Optimizes user comfort

Keep wearing your hearing protection, it’s essential!

Indeed, a lack of comfort or over-protection may lead you to regularly remove your earplugs or earmuffs to escape these inconveniences. However, removing your protectors has a direct impact on your hearing protection.

Take a look at this chart from CCOHS, which shows the negative effects.

Impact of removing hearing protection

Time removed (in 1 hr.) Maximum 25 dB protection is reduced to (dB)
0 min No reduction
1 min 17
5 min 11
10 min 8
30 min 3
60 min 0

Source: CCOST, Hearing Protectors: Personal Protective Equipment, https://www.cchst.ca/oshanswers/prevention/ppe/ear_prot.html#on-this-page-hdr

Ready to select your hearing protectors? Honeywell offers several quality protectors to meet different comfort and protection needs.
You'll find them here 👉 https://www.spi.com/en/lp/hearing-protection-with-honeywell