Hearing Protection

Exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing loss or impairment. It can create physical and psychological stress. There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so the prevention of excessive noise expossure is the only way to avoid hearing damage. Specifically designed protection is required, depending on the type of noise encountered.
Preformed or molded ear plugs should be individually fitted by a professional. Waxed cotton, foam, or fiberglass wool earplugs are self-forming. When properly inserted, they work as well as most molded earplugs.
Some earplugs are disposable, to be used one time and then thrown away. The non-disposable type should be cleaned after each use for proper protection. Plain cotton is ineffective as protection against hazardous noise.
Earmuffs need to make a perfect seal around the ear to be effective. Glasses, long sideburns, long hair, and facial movements, such as chewing, can reduce protection. Special equipment is available for use with glasses or beards.
For extremely noisy situations, earplugs should be worn in addition to earmuffs. When used together ear-plugs and earmuffs change the nature of sounds; all sounds are reduced including one’s own voice, but other voices or warning signals are easier to hear.


Disposable and reusable earplugs:
  • Wash hands and inspect plugs before insertion;
  • Wash reusable plugs daily and store in a clean case;
  • Replace plugs that are hard or discolored as soon as possible;
  • Make sure the plug fits properly inside the ear canal. If done correctly, the wearer’s voice will sound louder to him/her; and
  • With headband plugs, do not bend or twist the band.
  • Check cushions with each use and wash them as needed; and
  • Ensure that there is a tight fit as loose muffs will not reduce the noise.

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