Do you work in a noisy environment? If so, you probably have some questions about hearing protection, standards, and requirements. The good news is… our hearing protection experts are here to give you the right answer.
Why is hearing protection important?
Many industrial work environments feature dangerously high noise levels that could ultimately put your hearing at risk.
Hearing protection devices (HPDs) will help reduce your noise exposure, thus lowering the risk of permanent hearing loss.
Permanent hearing loss tends to develop over time and can harm your quality of life by making it difficult to communicate with your coworkers and your loved ones.
When do I need a hearing protector?
Most employers will provide hearing protection devices when the noise levels meet or exceed 85 dBA (decibels). Exposure to noise levels over 85 decibels may lead to hearing damage. This value is based upon the CSA Standard Z94.2 Hearing Protection Devices - Performance, Selection, Care, and Use.
Good to know− Here are some examples of the noise level you encounter in your day-to-day:
- Whisper: 30 dBA
- Discussion: 60 dBA
- Phone ring: 80 dBA
- Hand drill: 98 dBA
- Chain saw: 110 dBA
- Ambulance:120 dBA
I need hearing protectors… What’s next?
For one thing, your employer needs to make sure that the selection, use, and care of your hearing protection device meets the guidelines outlined by the CSA Z94.2 standard.
When hearing protection is needed, a hearing conservation program should be implemented. This program covers noise evaluation, hearing protection devices selection, fit testing, training, care, inspection, record management, and program evaluation.
Let us help you
Our team of occupational hygienists will make your life easier by creating a custom program that you can count on to protect your teams and be up to standards−without having to worry about it.
Why is device selection so important?
The selection of your hearing protection device is personal. It will vary from one person to another, as per your preference in acoustics, comfort, and appropriateness. The crucial element to consider is the level of noise protection the device truly offers you.
As the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHSA) says, “The human aspects of hearing protection are particularly important since the only useful kind of protection is the protection that is actually worn,” −and we couldn’t agree more.
Since everyone is different, some will prefer earmuffs while others will prefer wearing earplugs, hence the importance for employers to provide several different options of hearing protectors from which workers can choose from. When you select your device, make sure it fits your need and desires, so you’ll want to wear them at work.
How do I know how much a device protects my hearing?
Manufacturers provide information on the noise-reducing capabilities of a hearing protection device through an NRR value (noise reduction rating). This rating is defined as a single number rating that indicates the hearing protector attenuation.
Values range from 0 to approximately 35. The higher the rating on the hearing protector label, the greater it will reduce noise exposure.
Want to know more about the NRR? Read our expertise article here!
What do I have to know about the fit of my hearing protectors?
The fit of your hearing protection device is key. Its effectiveness is greatly reduced when it is not fitted correctly or worn only from time to time. Follow your device instruction and make sure it is tightly sealed within your ear canal or against the side of your head.
Hearing fit testing allows you to adapt your hearing protection equipment to your ear's shape and choose the most effective one according to your work environment and the level of noise exposure.
Hearing fit testing is a service we offer to make sure your hearing protection device is the right fit:
- The level of adaptation (to your work environment)
- Compatibility of equipment
- Material choice
- Ease of hearing and communicating through the equipment