Mining Publication: An Evaluation of Sound Restoration Hearing Protection Devices and Audibility Issues in Mining
Despite advancements in engineering noise controls and the use of administrative controls, miners are still dependent on hearing protection devices for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. However, miners often complain of reduced audibility or confusion about identifying spoken words when wearing conventional hearing protectors. This leads to an increased risk of miners being struck by moving equipment or errors in communication with co-workers. Miners will often remove their hearing protectors to overcome these obstacles. To address this problem, electronic technology exists that allows some amount of sound to pass through the hearing protector, therefore restoring some audibility of the passively attenuated sounds. This paper will present the results of testing completed on a selection of four sound restoration hearing protection devices, with the objective of determining if they provide improved speech intelligibility to workers near certain types of mining equipment.