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The effects of hearing protectors on speech communication and warning signal perception.

Proceedings: 1989 industrial hearing conservation conference, April 12-14, 1989. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, purchase order no. 93-6808, 1989 Apr; :63-66
A summary of recent reviews and analyses of efforts to study hearing protectors and their effects on speech and warning signal perception was presented. The study indicated that the use of plugs or, particularly, muffs adversely affected the ability to localize acoustic signals. Earplugs produced primarily ipsilateral effects. These findings present serious concerns for safety in noisy working conditions. Special passive attenuators can improve communication with protectors during the quiet intervals between noise bursts. They are primarily useful in impulsive noise conditions, such as those found at firing ranges. The distortion of speech communication and signal detection was particularly notable in low and moderate noise levels, in conditions where the wearer is hearing impaired to begin with, in circumstances where the talker as well as the listener is wearing hearing protectors, when the signal of danger is not expected and is heard along with other noise, and when the wearer must localize sounds, specifically in the vertical plane.
NIOSH-Author; Noise-exposure; Ear-protectors; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Industrial-noise; Occupational-safety-programs; Personal-protective-equipment
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Proceedings: 1989 industrial hearing conservation conference, April 12-14, 1989
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division