What Is Considered Good Job Site Ear Protection?
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recommends three types of active hearing protection:
- Foam ear plugs, soft plugs that more or less mould themselves to your ear canal.
- PVC ear plugs, more like those you might use with radio or CD player you jog or walk with.
- Ear muffs or noise canceling headphones (those without the ability to bring in your favorite radio station).
The two most important considerations are your comfort, since you'll be wearing your safety ear protection for a good part of every day, and the noise reduction rating (NRR) of the best hearing protection you can afford. The higher number quoted by your ear plugs or ear protection muffs, the more noise that is muted. In most cases, you should consider the best hearing protection your budget allows for job site use, while you may buy ear plugs or muffs with a lower rating for personal use.
Some manufacturers to consider:
- 3M earplugs – this company makes a variety of effective ear plugs.
- Aearo earplugs – claims they make the most popular and comfortable ear plugs on the planet.
- Bilsom hearing protection – along with earplugs, you can buy a selection of ear muffs, even those providing hearing protection with radio, a decent am/fm tuner included.
The answer to the question of adequate hearing protection devices depends largely on your individual job site circumstances. OSHA states that “employee exposure to excessive noise depends upon a number of factors, including:
- The loudness of the noise as measured in decibels (dB).
- The duration of each employee's exposure to the noise.
- Whether employees move between work areas with different noise levels.
- Whether noise is generated from one or multiple sources.”
OSHA also uses a rule of thumb you should consider. At your workplace, you can be exposed to a noise level of up to 90 dB for around 8 hours per day before ear noise protection is required.
Safety Products Frequently Asked Questions
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