Every year millions of people in the US are exposed to hazardous occupational noise. The law requires employers provide their employees with a safe workplace. When the workers’ noise exposure exceeds an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels on the A scale (dBA), the employer must develop and implement a hearing conservation program, which includes noise level monitoring, annual hearing tests, and hearing protection (29 CFR 1910.95(c)). Where noise is a potential hazard, wearing earmuffs is an effective solution for minimizing exposures and reducing risk of hearing loss.
Wearing properly-fitted hearing protection is the best method of preventing occupational hearing loss. Loud noise has also been shown to reduce productivity and create psychological and physical stress. For optimal protection, use hearing protectors correctly and consistently. Make sure that your ears are well-covered by adjusting earmuff straps or headbands to fit your individual size. In choosing the right earmuffs, you should consider the work environment, the type of equipment handled, other types of PPE that you will be wearing, and the duration of use.
There are different styles of earmuffs designed for various types of work:
Headband style earmuffs are the sturdiest and best choice for frequent wear.
Leightning L1 Headband Earmuff 1010922 (NRR 25) features steel wire construction for extra durability of daily use in agriculture and farming, landscaping, sporting, steel, wood products, metal fabrication, transportation, forestry, general contracting, military and law enforcement, petrochemical and equipment manufacturing. The padded foam headband and the ear cushions provide extra comfort with minimal pressure. The patented air flow control increases protection levels without increasing the size or weight of the earmuff.
Neckband style is a behind-the-head design to be worn with other PPE, such as face shields, helmets, visors, and respirators. Here are a few examples of the best neckband earmuffs.
Howard Leight Leightning Ultraslim Neckband Earmuffs 1013460 (NRR 22) are perfect for low level noise reduction especially in the construction industry.
For compatibility with other PPE, try the high-quality Howard Leight Leightning L1H Helmet Earmuffs 1011991 (NRR 23) or Howard Leight Leightning L3H Helmet Earmuffs 1011993 (NRR 27). Both models are specifically designed to be seamlessly integrated with a wide range of hard hats and include adapters to attach the earmuffs to a hard hat.
Taking proper care of your earmuffs is important. Wipe earmuff cushions and headband with a clean cloth, and ensure that sound-attenuating material inside the ear cushions does not get wet. Also, for better care, it makes sense to check the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
If you need expert advice about the best hearing protection devices (HPDs), please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com, and follow @PKSafetydotcom.