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Effectiveness of Hearing Protection Against Impulsive Noise

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.


  • Address the need for updated guidance and regulations related to the performance of hearing protection devices in impulsive noise environments.
Indoor pistol range

Applicable Standards

  • ANSI S12.7 1986 (R2006)
  • 29 CFR 1910.95

Key Partners

  • DHS
  • Fort Collins Police Department
  • University of Cincinnati


  • DHS
  • DOE
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab

Project Scope

  • Hearing protector attenuation is most often evaluated through REAT measurements, but can be assessed with a microphone in real ear or using an acoustic test fixture. The HLR program constructed an acoustic test fixture to digitally record the acoustic transfer function of HPDs in an impulsive environment. HLR program staff evaluated the effectiveness of more than twenty hearing protectors at indoor and outdoor firing ranges with impulses generated by small-caliber weapons and peak impulse levels ranging from 140 to 170 dB SPL and data was presented and published.


  • None


  • Kardous CA, Franks JR, Davis RR [2005]. NIOSH/NHCA Best practices workshop on impulsive noise. Noise Control Engineering Journal, 53 (2) 53-60.
  • Tubbs, RL, Murphy, WJ. [2003]. NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Report: HETA #2002-0131-2898 Fort Collins Police Services, Fort Collins, Colorado. DHHS-CDC-NIOSH, March [2003].
  • Franks JR, Murphy WJ. [2002]. Do sound restoration hearing protectors provide adequate attenuation for gunfire noise. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 112 No. 5 Pt. 2, 2294.


  • None
Page last modified: July 23, 2007
Page last reviewed: July 23, 2007 (archived document)
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)