22 May 2013
There are many factors to consider when selecting the right hearing protective equipment for your warehouse or manufacturing facility. Protective equipment comes in all shapes and at various levels of noise exposure. Choosing the most cost-effective solution for you that will provide the optimal amount of protection without cutting out too much noise can be a fine line for facility managers to walk.
Protective equipment ranges from ear muffs to foam or preformed ear plugs to canal caps:
- Ear Muffs fit against the head and enclose the entire external ear. The inside of the muff cup is typically lined with an acoustical foam that can reduce noise by as much as 15 to 30 decibels. They are typically used in work environments with extremely loud noises, at or above 105 decibels.
- Ear Plugs are foam inserts that are either preformed or formable and fit inside the ear. They expand to fill the ear canal, sealing the walls to prevent noise from entering. They typically come in a variety of sizes to fit all of your employee’s ear canals.
- Canal Caps are devices that cap off the ear at the canal opening. They generally provide less protection from loud noises than muffs or plugs and, while they are usually the least expensive option, they are not recommended for most uses.
Reducing Noise By Cutting Off Air Flow
When choosing which hearing protective device to use for your employees, the first thing to consider is the seal that will be provided. Because sound waves travel through the air, noise reduction relies upon blocking any air leakage. The better the seal, the more noise will be kept from entering the ear canal.
Comfort is another important factor to consider. Your employees may need to wear the protective equipment for hours at a time. If it is heavy, difficult to insert or remove, or can easily become dirty or contains irritating chemicals, they may be less likely to use them.
Following Proper Care and Maintenance
Whichever type of hearing protective equipment you choose, make sure you have a schedule to inspect it and replace it on a regular basis, especially if there is a chance that it can become soiled. Using dirty ear protection equipment can lead to infections, which can cause downtime, lost productivity and increase health care costs.
Whenever possible, issue each employee their own set of personal hearing protective equipment. And encourage your employees to property maintain their equipment, keep it as clean as possible, and notify you well in advance if it needs to be replaced.
Bahrns offers a complete selection of all types of hearing protective equipment to fit every need and budget. Check out our ear protective devices by clicking here.