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Noise, Hearing and Protective Measures


In the market there is a great variety of types and models of hearing protection, basically they are classified in the following;


Ear Inserters


They are placed in the external auditory canal.


Ear Plugs


They completely enclose the ear canopy and bony area surrounding the ear.


Below are some examples of ear protection equipment that are on the market with the main features. 



Attenuation is one of the main requirements mentioned above. It is defined as the amount of sound that the protector prevents from reaching the ears and it is expressed in dB and it varies depending on the frequency.


There are different methodologies that are used to measure or determine the attenuation of a hearing protector.


Placed properly, the ear plugs or headphones can reduce the noise, according to the characteristics of the same, between 15 to 30 dB. Simultaneous use of both usually adds 10 to 15 dB more protection. The combined use is applicable when the noise exceeds up to 105 dB.


Suppose we have the measurement of noises in the different frequencies, the first step is to correct the measured levels of the compensation value A. The corrected values are subtracted the attenuation of the ear protector at each of the frequencies and obtains the Partial Effective Levels for each. Finally, the Partial Effective Levels must be integrated through a logarithmic formula obtaining the Effective Level.


The methodology must be applied to all sound sources and then the Equivalent Continuous Sound Level must be calculated, taking into account the actual values calculated for each source.


At present, efforts are being made to simplify the task of ion and comparison of hearing protection in relation to sound attenuation. This is to classify the hearing protector by a number rather than an attenuation curve. This number is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) which is delivered by the manufacturer that makes the calculation of the Effective Level simpler for the reason that frequency noise measurement is not necessary. The calculation system is as follows;


  • Effective Level dB (A): Sound Level dB (C) - NRR
  • Effective Level dB (A): Sound Level dB (A) + 7 dB - NRR


Many studies have shown that workers wearing ear protectors receive half or less of the decibel reduction that would theoretically offer them the same, mainly because they are not used to continuously or because they are not properly placed.

From this arises the importance of implementing a program of hearing conservation that happens fundamentally by the ion of the appropriate ear protector, the continuous use of the same and the training of the personnel. The ideal protector will be one that has a good attenuation and that guarantees a total comfort. If you are into shooting, there are special shooting ear muffs which help you stay protected during the shooting practice.

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