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What PPE is Used for Hearing Protection?

Two main types of hearing protection devices, earplugs and earmuffs, are used to protect against hearing damage. They are generally required in workplaces when noise levels reach 85 decibels or higher.

Earplugs form a seal inside the ear canal to prevent high noise levels from reaching the cochlea. The advantages of earplugs are that they are lightweight, do not interfere with headgear, and are less expensive. Earplugs are either self-forming or molded. Self-forming earplugs can fit into any ear, are for single use only, and must be discarded after use. Molded earplugs are custom fit, reusable, and must be cleaned after using.

Earmuffs cover the outer ear and form a seal. Advantages of earmuffs over earplugs include providing more consistent protection and being easier to put on and off, and therefore being good for short jobs. Before using earmuffs, inspect them for cracks, tears, or wear. The seal over the ear must be tight, and the cups should completely cover the ears.


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