Hearing Protection Devices: Which one’s best for you?

When you’re exposed to loud noises at home and at work, which HPD is best for you?

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss and 22 million Americans are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace.

Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) help protect employees from hearing loss due to noise exposure, at work or in our everyday lives. HPDs reduce the intensity, or volume, of noise. There are four common hearing protection devices, and they aren’t all the best choice, depending on your need/situation:

  • Ear Muffs are best for intermittent use because they’re easy to take on and off. They’re ideal for people with ear infections or for those who’ve recently had ear surgery because it covers the ear, instead of inserting the HPD into the ear.
  • Customized Earplugs are a good option to use with other personal protective equipment, like hard hats, because they don’t get in the way. They’re comfortable and a good fit because they’re formed to your ear.
  • Earplugs to be molded are a great option when you’re on a budget. Molded earplugs provide a good fit, are compatible with personal protective equipment and require no maintenance. When you’re finished with them, properly dispose of them and use a new, clean pair when you need hearing protection again.
  • Preformed Earplugs are a hygienic option for those who need hearing protection while performing tasks that will dirty their hands. They are a cheaper option than customized earplugs. They’re a better long-term option than molded earplugs because you can wash and reuse them. Preformed earplugs are also compatible with your existing personal protective equipment.

Many of you already use HPDs in your everyday life – ear muffs when you’re hunting, ear plugs when you’re swimming and even ear plugs while mowing the lawn or using power tools. Whether at home or at work, protecting our hearing is important, and when it’s as simple as using ear muffs or an ear plug – why take your chances?

To learn more about the HPDs and PPE available to you at your division, contact your local Safety Manager or reach out to Tony Dominic, Director – Health and Safety, at Tony.Dominic@olysteel.com.

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