Reducing Noise Exposure: Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

A worker placing an earplug into his ear

NIOSH recommends that workers shall be required to wear hearing protectors when engaged in work that exposes them to noise that equals or exceeds 85 dBA as an 8-hour TWA. The employer shall provide hearing protectors at no cost to the workers. Hearing protectors shall attenuate noise sufficiently to keep the worker’s “real-world” exposure below 85 dBA as an 8-hour TWA. Workers exposed to any single impulse noise level that exceed 140 dBA those whose 8-hour TWA exposures exceed 100 dBA should wear double hearing protection (i.e., they should wear earplugs and earmuffs simultaneously).

NIOSH – Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss – A Practical Guide
This guide is intended to assist employers to develop and maintain hearing loss prevention programs; it provides practical information and guidelines on the eight major components of a hearing loss prevention program: (1) noise exposure monitoring, (2) engineering and administrative controls, (3) audiometric evaluation, (4) use of hearing protection devices, (5) education and motivation, (6) record keeping, (7) program evaluation, and (8) hearing loss prevention program audit.

NIOSH HPD Well-Fit system – Measuring How Well Earplugs Work
NIOSH developed the HPD Well-Fit™ system to create a fast and reliable fit-test system to measure the amount of sound reduction an individual worker receives from their HPD and identifies workers who are not sufficiently protected.

NIOSH Hearing Protector Device Compendium
The NIOSH Hearing Protector Device Compendium is a comprehensive searchable database of hearing protection devices. This web tool is intended to help workers and safety professionals select the most appropriate product for their unique environment. The tool identifies hearing protector devices by type, manufacturer, and noise exposure level.

Choosing the Right Hearing Protector
This page provides information on the various hearing protection devices and how to choose the best protector for the type of work you do.

How to wear Soft Foam Earplugs
To get the best protection from your soft foam earplugs, remember to roll, pull, and hold when putting them in. Use clean hands to keep from getting dirt and germs into your ears.