The Rewards of Hearing Protector Fit-Testing

The Rewards of Hearing Protector Fit-Testing


In recent posts, we've been discussing the role of hearing protector fit testing in hearing consevation programs and addressing the issues related to NRRs. We noted that fit-testing provides a formal metric from which one can determine whether employees are receiving optimal protection for their noise environment.


The rewards of fit-testing are significant:

     -- Attenuation testing provides a documented measurement of adequate fit on individual workers (rather than just a population estimation using the NRR).

     -- Workers can try several different earplugs, and select the model that provides the most comfortable protection.

     -- Overprotection can be measured and identified, thus improving communication with coworkers and warning signal detection.

     -- Studies indicate that Personal Attenuation Ratings are “sticky” in terms of being memorable to workers. Sixty days after one-on-one training, most workers can still recall the results of their earplug fit-test, including the best-fitting protector.

     -- Several field test sites observed self-perpetuating peer training going on. That is, workers who had undergone attenuation testing and one-on-one fit training often demonstrated their good fitting practices to other workers.

     -- Fit-testing of earplugs provides immediate feedback to wearers. Users know right away whether their fit is acceptable or not, and can make immediate adjustments. And most importantly, it provides positive reinforcement that the hearing protection is doing its job, when worn properly. 



Next: Closing the Gap Between Real-World Experience and Desired NRR


Blog Author:  Brad Witt  
Blog Catagories:  NRR  noise reduction rating  Hearing Protectors  Hearing Protection  hazardous noise  fit-testing  

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