When it comes to hearing protection, earmuffs are typically the most comfortable option. Numerous models and styles are available from 3M Peltor, MSA, Walkers, IsoTunes, Bilsom, and AO Safety. At Enviro Safety Products, we offer traditional headband styles, neckband and hard hat mounted. These products are great for situations where people move in and out of noise often during the work day.
Hearing protection is serious business, and damage to your hearing is permanent. From Peltor's active noise cancellation technology, to 3M and MSA you will find your needs here at prices that cannot be beat.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
The Noise Reduction Rating is measurement of how well protective hearing equipment protects your hearing. NRR is measured in decibels and the greater the number, the more noise reduction.
OSHA basis is standard for occupational noise exposure 29 CFR 1910.95 with NRR. Employers are required to make available hearing protection, to employees who are subject to noise levels of 85 decibels or greater for an 8-hour period.
Choosing the Right Ear Muffs
Peltor, MSA and Bilsom protective headsets come in a variety of styles and protection levels. After determining your work area’s dB level (as explained above) it is time to decide which style is right for you. Earmuffs feature cups with soft cushions that seal around the ear, blocking all external noise. Products with a high noise reduction rating (NRR) are usually bulkier (larger cups) than those with a smaller NRR. Most of these products are made from plastic or a combination of metal and plastic. Headsets are available in three different styles; over the head, cap mounted and behind the neck.
Over the Head: This is the most common design. This style sets over the top of the user's head. When not in use, they can be worn around the neck.
Cap Mounted: This is designed to mount directly to the sides of a hard hat that have side-accessory slots.
Behind the Neck: This is similar to the over the head style, except the support comes from around the neck. This style can also be worn with a hard hat.
Enviro Safety Products offer a range of earmuffs and earplugs to help ensure your hearing is protected while you work.
Frequently Asked Questions about earmuffs
Q: When does someone begin experiencing hearing pain and even loss?
A: Hearing pain and loss can begin to occur from noise levels in the 125-160 decibels range. However, at this volume, hearing damage can already have occurred.
Q: How do noise cancelling ear muffs work
A: Noise cancelling earmuffs are typically lined with materials that deaden sound. This material is usually an acoustic foam lining, which is able to absorb any sound that comes from your surrounding environment. This works by increasing air resistance which then reduces the external sound waves’ amplitude.
Q: How do I choose the right hearing protection?
A: There are three ways to choose the right hearing protection for you.
- 1. What is the right amount of noise reduction for you?
Not all hearing protection devices will cancel out all levels of noise. That is, the decibel range can affect the efficacy of hearing protection devices. Earplugs typically have better noise cancelling than earmuffs. However, earmuffs are more comfortable and easier to use in most day to day situations.
- 2. Where you work, and what tasks you do.
Your workplace, and the tasks you do, can make the choice of hearing protection for you. If your job requires you to wear other personal protective equipment such as a respirator, hard hat, or eye protection (like safety glasses or goggles), these can interfere with the seal of an earmuff. Which obviously would allow sound to leak in. Hardhats and helmets also may make ear muffs untenable, in which case ear plugs are often the best choice.
Another important consideration is how necessary talking is to your job. That is, how often do you need to hear other people talk? In these cases, you may need either earmuffs which are easy to remove, or communication headsets that are noise-cancelling.
- 3. What’s most convenient and comfortable?
In some work environments, ear plugs are better, convenient and more comfortable, especially in noisier job sites. And then, on the other hand, earmuffs are more comfortable, and easier to manage. All you have to do to remove earmuffs, is push them down, so they’re hanging around your neck. Which is easier than pulling out plugs, putting them in a little case, and then making sure you don’t lose that little case.