General information on hearing protection

Hearing protection is personal protective equipment which reduces the effect of noise on the human ear through noise insulation to the extent that the development of noise-induced hearing loss is avoided. The company must provide hearing protection for rating levels above 85 dB (A), or 80 dB (A). The insured parties must use the hearing protection provided for rating levels from 90 dB (A) / 85 dB (A). Areas, in which rating levels are from 90 dB (A) / 85 dB (A), must be labelled as noise areas.

The new EC Directive on noise:
The new Directive came into force at European level in 2003.

The substantial changes are:
Information and training duty and to provide hearing protection from 80 dB (A). Duty to wear hearing protection, noise reduction programme and labelling noise areas from 85 dB (A).

DIN EN 352 distinguishes:

1. Hearing protection earplugs are hearing protectors which are worn in the ear canal or in the auricle.

They are divided into two classes:
Disposable earplugs for single use and reusable earplugs for repeated use.

A distinction is made between the following types:

• Ready-shaped hearing protection earplugs
• Hearing protection earplugs which must be shaped prior to use
• Otoplastic hearing protection
• Banded earplugs
2. Earmuffs are hearing protectors with capsules which surround both ears. They have universal, head, chin or neck bands or can be fastened to a helmet.

Those who consistently and correctly wear a tested and approved means of sound protection in a noise area do not suffer from hearing damage.

The hearing protection equipment should fit comfortably, should not squeeze, and should be skin-compatible and hygienic. It should allow speech communication to be understood and warning signals to be recognised.

Noise-induced hearing loss is incurable!

The given insulation values are explained as follows:
The SNR value (Single-Noise-Reduction) is the value which must be deducted from the existing noise level. If the difference is below the limit determined by e.g. professional association regulations or working guidelines, then the hearing protection is adequate.

According to the new EC Directive on noise, exposure limits must be determined taking in account the wearing habits of the users.

For example:
The prescribed exposure limit is 85 dB (A). Federal law recommends < 80 dB (A). This value must not be exceeded when taking into account the hearing protection equipment!

The noise exposure is 103 dB (A). The SNR value of the hearing protection equipment, e.g. earmuffs, is 28 dB (A).

The following corrective values must be deducted from the manufacturer information: 9 dB earplugs to be shaped prior to use, 5 dB pre-shaped earplugs; 5 dB capsules and 3 dB otoplastics. SNR 28 dB minus 5 dB corrective value = 23 dB. Thus 103 minus 23 = 80, the hearing protection equipment is therefore adequate in this case since the value is less than 85 dB (A).

The H, M and L values give the specific insulation value at different frequencies.
stands for ‘high’ and denotes the frequency range between 2,000 and 8,000 Hz.
M stands for ‘middle’ and denotes the frequency range between 1,000 and 2,000 Hz.
L stands for ‘low’ and denotes the frequency range between 63 and 1,000 Hz.

Personal advice

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Further information

e.g. Kapselgehörschutz Serie 3M™ Peltor™ X