Advancements in hearing protector fit-testing technology are now allowing safety managers and workers to more easily and accurately measure hearing protector effectiveness — and further bridge that “lab versus real world” gap between the published NRR and the actual use.


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 value of fit-testing in helping wearers of hearing protectors close the gap between their real-world experience and their desired NRR was made evident in a field attenuation study conducted by the Howard Leight® Acoustical Laboratory. In the study, the real-world attenuation of earplugs worn by 100 noise-exposed workers at eight different noisy companies was measured.

In recent years, fit-testing of hearing protectors has become available from several manufacturers.  Similar to a qualitative respirator fit-test, an earplug fit-test assesses the actual protectors worn by the workers in the field. Learn More

At the heart of worker protection in any project is ongoing monitoring of the hazards.  Guesstimates of hazardous exposures, or conjecture about the effectiveness of protective equipment, are simply not acceptable in industry.

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