Choosing the Right Hearing Protection for You

Wearing the right hearing protection can often have a big impact on your safety and comfort in the workplace. There are several options available and below we have broken down the three most common choices and the pros and cons of each.

earplugs premoldedPre-molded, Reusable Earplugs:

Pre-molded earplugs are typically made from silicone, plastic or rubber and are available as either “one-size-fits-most” or in a variety of sizes. If you fit the earplugs correctly, they should seal the ear canal without any noticeable discomfort.

Disadvantages:
People may need different size earplugs to fit in each ear and sometimes it takes trial and error to find the correct size for a comfortable fit.

Advantages:
Pre-molded plugs are easy to wear, affordable and can be reused multiple times. They are also beneficial for people who work in outdoor environments that may soil their hearing protection, because you don’t need to touch the tips and pre-molded earplugs are often easy to clean.

earplugsCanal Caps:

This type of hearing protection is basically earplugs on a flexible plastic or metal headband that can either be worn over your head, behind the neck or under your chin. Tips of canal caps can be either pre-molded or formable.

Disadvantages:
Canal cap plugs have been noted for causing discomfort from the pressure of the bands; the tips also have a tendency to fail at blocking out all noise.

Advantages:
Canal caps are convenient and versatile, thanks to the ability to leave the band hanging around your neck during quiet moments. When noise picks up again, you can quickly insert the plug tips to protect your ears.

Earmuffs:

Earmuffs stop intrusive noise by covering the entire ear and can range from ‘low profile’ models with small ear cups to larger models used for extra noise.

Disadvantages:
Earmuffs are not very practical if you who have a lot of facial hair, such as a heavy beard or sideburns, or if you wear glasses. Hair and the temple of the glasses can impede the hearing protection by loosening up the coverage the earmuff cushions make around the ear that is meant to block all noise.

Advantages:
Earmuffs come in many different types and sizes, designed to fit the a wide range of people. Some types of earmuffs include technology to help you speak with others or to keep out impulsive noises.

 

Reference Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics

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