hearing protection

ABOUT HEARING PROTECTION


Noise is sound waves transmitted through air or fluid at different frequencies. Noise is best reduced at the source and it is the responsibility of the employer through technical measures or adequate work planning to reduce noise exposure to the greatest extent possible. Noise starts to become dangerous at levels as low as 80 dB (A). If noise exposure cannot be reduced to below this level, the task may only be carried out with hearing protection. If the noise level exceeds 85 dB (A) (over a 40-hour work week), the use of hearing protection is mandatory. The choice of proper hearing protection depends on the noise volume and frequency range, the need for noise suppression, and the desire to combine it with other safety equipment.

EN STANDARDS

  • EN 352-1 Ear muffs
  • EN 352-2 Ear plugs
  • EN 352-3 Ear muffs attached to industrial safety helmets
  • EN 352-4 Level-dependent ear muffs
  • EN 352-5 Active noise reduction ear muffs
  • EN 352-6 Ear muffs with electrical audio input
  • EN 352-7 Level-dependent ear plugs
  • EN 352-8 Entertainment audio ear muffs

NOISE REDuCTION & OVER REDUCTION

It is important that the used hearing protection provides sufficient noise reduction to protect the hearing. However, it is equally important that it does not reduce the sound too much so that the user becomes overprotected. This can mean not hearing colleagues, phone calls, alarms or other important signals. The recommended sound level for hearing protection is between 70-80 dB.  

SNR (Single Number Rating) is a rough calculation, which claims that when the SNR value stated on the hearing protection is deducted from the measured noise level, the resulting number should be somewhere below 80 dB (A).

EAR MUFFS

This kind of headguard consists of hard plastic cups with sound-insulating material that close tightly around the ears. The advantages of ear muffs are that they are easy to put on and take off and that they can be adjusted to most head sizes. Due to their size, ear muffs do not get lost as easily as earplugs and it is easy to spot whether employees are using their hearing protection. Ear muffs are also used for extreme noise conditions, as they are available with higher protection than e.g. earplugs. However, it is important to make sure that your ear muffs can be combined with other personal protective equipment if necessary. For example, if your job requires you to wear a helmet, most of our headguards are available in a version that can be mounted on industrial safety helmets. Remember to replace foam inserts and sealing rings with the appropriate hygiene kit at least every six months.  

ELECTRONICS- & Communications hearing protection

In this category we have ear muffs with built-in radio and communication equipment, as well as "active" ear muffs that, unlike ordinary "passive" ear muffs, reduce outside noise. This makes it possible to have conversations and hear alarms while wearing the ear muffs without being harmed by surrounding noises.

EAR PLUGS

There are many types of ear plugs and they are particularly suitable as an affordable solution which is easy to carry around in your pocket. They are practical when you need to protect your ears for shorter periods of time during a working day or in hot and humid environments. However, earplugs require instructions, as improperly inserted plugs do not provide the expected protection. Earplugs are not suitable for use in unhygienic areas, as there is a risk of dirt entering the ear canals.

MOuLDED EAR PLUGS

ICM delivers molded ear plugs for your workplace in collaboration with Sivantos. Contact our customer service to find out more, after which we will pass on your information to our partner, who will contact you in order to make an appointment to make an imprint of the ears. Delivery time is approximately one month and a minimum order of 2-3 pairs is required.  

EAR PLUGS ON HANGER

This type of hearing protection consists of plugs that only partially enter the ear canal. Ear plugs on a hanger are easy to put on and take off and they can hang around the neck when not in use. Therefore, this solution are suitable for work with occasional, moderate noise, or for employees moving in and out of areas with noise. This solution is typically a little more expensive than ear plugs but cheaper than ear muffs. Note that there is a difference in the size of the hangers. Remember that, in the end, the effectiveness of hearing protection depends on personal preferences. All ear canals are different and it is usually the most comfortable hearing protection that ends up being used.

VOLUME & FREQUENCY

NOISE BAROMETER
Decibels (dB) is a measure of noise intensity, just as degree Celsius is a measure of temperature. A change of 3 dB (A) halves or doubles the noise impact and is recorded clearly but a change of up to 10 dB (A) is required for the ear to perceive the noise as halved or doubled. Therefore, even quite modest changes in the noise level can have a decisive impact. General industrial noise is typically 100-110 dB, while plain talk is about 60 dB.

The frequency indicates the number of sound oscillations per second and is called Hertz (Hz). One Hz is actually one sound oscillation per second. Slow oscillations are considered deep tones (bass - around 125Hz), while rapid oscillations are heard as high tones (treble, such as a trumpet, around 4,000 Hz). Young people with good hearing can hear sounds from 20 to 20,000 Hz. General industrial noise is typically in the range 2-8,000 Hz, which is medium- and high-frequency range.

1% of 1 hour = 36 secONDS

If the hearing protection is not used for only 36 seconds during 1-hour noise exposure, the average attenuation will decrease by 20 dB at 2000 Hz.

THE HML METHOD


A simple method that specifies which noise level the user is exposed to while using hearing protection. When you know the type of noise or the exact noise volume, you can choose the correct hearing protection based on HML values (high, medium and low frequency noise). The higher the HM values, the better the suppression of high-frequency noise is, and the higher the ML values the better the suppression of low-frequency noise. Noise, which requires protection, is measured with a noise meter in a dB (A) and dB (C) weighting.

PICK THE RIGHT HEARING PROTECTION  

- and use it all the time.

It is a common misconception that one 'gets used' to noise. It is dangerous because damage to the hearing is first detected when it is already too late. It is therefore important to make it clear that hearing protection must be used all the time in work areas designated by the occupational safety service as 'noise zones'

EXAMPLE
The effective suppression at 2000 Hz is reduced from approx. 40 dB to approx. 20 dB if the hearing protection is only used 99% of the time.

PRODUCTS
HEARING PROTECTION

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