Hearing Tech defines some of the common problems encountered while using hearing protectors.
Studies have shown that one-half of the workers wearing hearing protectors receive one-half or less of the noise reduction potential of their protectors because the hearing protectors are not worn continuously, while in noise or because they do not fit properly.
A hearing device that gives an average of 30dB of noise reduction, if worn continuously during an 8-hour workday, becomes equivalent to only 9dB of protection if taken off for one hour in the noise.
This is because decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, and there is a 10-fold increase in sound energy for each 1dB increase.
During the hour with unprotected ears, the worker is exposed to 1,000 times more sound energy than if ear plugs, muffs or otoplastics had been worn.
In addition, noise exposure is cumulative.
So the noise at home or at play must be counted in the total exposure during any one day.
A maximum allowable while on-the-job followed by exposure to a noisy lawnmower or loud music will definitely exceed the safe daily limit
Even if earplugs and/or muffs are worn continuously while in noise, they do little good if there is an incomplete air seal between the hearing protector and the skin.
When using hearing protectors, one will hear one’s own voice as louder and deeper.
This is useful sign that the hearing protectors are properly positioned.