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Hearing Protection Levels |

How to Understand Hearing Protection Levels

Earplugs Hearing Levels

If you work in a noisy workplace, it is important to ensure that you offer the correct level of hearing protection. If noise levels are too high, workers’ hearing can be damaged. Conversely, if the hearing protection you provide has too high an attenuation rating, it will make workers uncomfortable.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about selecting the correct level of hearing protection.


Do You Have a Noise Problem?

There are some easy checks you can use to tell whether you might have a noise problem:

  • Are noise levels intrusive for most of the working day?
  • Do you work in a noisy industry, for instance engineering, pressing, or manufacturing?
  • Do employees have to raise their voices to speak to each other?

If you notice any of these things in your work place, there is a chance that you may need to provide hearing protection for your employees.

When is Hearing Protection Needed?

The need for hearing protection is determined by action levels. Action levels are determined by different levels of noise, and the level of noise will determine the type of action you should take. There are three action levels for hearing protection:

Action LevelNoise LevelRequired Action
Lower exposure level Average noise exposure level of 80dB Information, training, and hearing protection needs to be made available
Upper exposure level Average noise exposure level of 85dB Employers must take reasonably practical measures to reduce noise exposure. If these measures do not reduce noise to an acceptable level, hearing protection must be provided
Exposure limit Average noise exposure level of 87dB No worker should be exposed to this level of noise (once hearing protection has been factored in)

How Much Hearing Protection Do You Need?

To correctly determine the level of hearing protection you need, it is essential to accurately measure the current levels of noise in your workplace. Once you know you loud your workplace is, you can begin to look at hearing protection.

Hearing protection has an attenuation rating, marked in dB. The attenuation rating tells you by how many decibels the hearing protection reduces sound. For instance, if you had a noise level of 90dB, and wore hearing protection rated for 30dB, the final noise would be 60dB.

We supply a wide range of hearing protection, so you can find exactly the right hearing protection for your workplace. Browse our full range of hearing protection today.


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