Hearing Protection

Hearing Protection is protection against noise induced hearing impairment. Hearing-protective devices have one serious drawback, they do not eliminate or reduce the hazard.

What Types of Hearing Protection are Available?

There are four types of hearing protectors available:

  • Enclosure hearing protection completely surrounds the wearers head, such as an astronaut's helmet. Cost, temperature, and bulk commonly discourage this type of hearing protection.
  • Aural Insert are inexpensive to very expensive and have limited lifetimes. These are small plugs that seal against the walls of the ear canal. Disposable, formable, premolded, and custom-molded ear plugs are good examples.
  • Superaural are similar to Aural inserts but have a headband that holds the inserts in place. Canal caps are typical for this category.
  • Circumaural are earmuffs that seal against the wearer's head enclosing the entire ear.

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the most convenient method to gauge adequacy of a hearing protector's attenuation capacity. Contact EHS for proper use of the EPA NRR that is printed on all hearing protector packaging.

How do I get Hearing Protection?

The first step to acquiring hearing protection is talking with your supervisor. The supervisor will contact EHS for assistance in determining the best hearing protection for the job. Hearing protection is available from EHS or can be ordered directly from authorized manufacturers.