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How to protect your hearing

Industrial deafness is a huge issue in most industries, the sufferer may not even realise they are being exposed to damaging levels of noise until it’s too late! The Health and Safety Executive offer some sensible advice.  However, if you have a problem it can be costly to assess, and get very technical and expensive trying to resolve.

The World Health Organisation have named hearing loss as the most common permanent and preventable injury in the world. The UK has seen soaring cases of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) over the past few years, so it’s clear to see why hearing protection has been upgraded from a category 2 to a category 3 item of PPE in the new PPE Regulations (meaning this item of PPE prevents lifelong damage / injuries).

A temporary solution until you reduce the noise at source can be suitable hearing protection. As a budget solution, the Earz lightweight economy ear defenders are ideal for temporary staff, visitors, agency staff or short duration use such as wearing during the use of noisy tools. These defenders offer a good level of protection with an SNR of 24dB. These are cheap at £3.99 and do the job!

Alternatively, the B-Brand Premium ear defender offers a higher SNR of 33dB for the noisier environment. This product is much comfier to wear for longer periods and feels like a quality product, however still is still affordable at £7.99. B-Brand are a leading provider of hearing protection with a strong commitment to safety innovation and development conforming to EN352-1:2002.

If ear defenders aren’t your thing, ear plugs are the obvious option. The Earz EPFC36 corded plugs offer an impressive SNR of 36dB, a box of 100 pairs is only £35.99 from LESH. These are very cost effective as they are reusable, washable and are easy to take in and out when moving around site. They are comfortable to wear even for long periods and are provided in a handy dispenser box.

Compatibility between different items of PPE is not only a legal requirement, it is essential to make sure you get the protection you need. If different PPE conflict with each other when being worn, this is an issue. The B-Brand Forestry kit is ideal if you need a combo of headgear offering a hard hat, ear defenders with SNR 23dB, and a mesh face visor.

You need to consider hearing protection as a temporary measure if you or your staff are exposed to noise levels above 80db for long periods, as a rough guide, if you can’t talk normally without shouting to someone around 2 meters away, you probably have a noise issue.