Hearing protection for industry & trade

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Protect your hearing from industrial noise

Hearing protection for industry and trade

Depending on the application and industrial environment, a variety of options are available. For example, the right hearing protection can attenuate noise in the work environment and in this way prevent some otherwise often unavoidable long-term damage to the sensitive inner ear or cochlea.

Why is it important to wear hearing protection in industry and trade?

In industry and trade, powerful machines are often used in various activities and the production of various goods. However, sound pressure levels are often already reached in the everyday working environment, which can cause permanent damage to hearing in the case of long-term or even short-term exposure. Therefore the appropriate professional hearing protection is essential for noise work, especially in the industrial sector.

What kind of hearing damage can be caused by noise in industry or trade?

According to the German Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance, the use of suitable hearing protection in the working environment is mandatory for sound pressure levels above 85 decibels. This is due to the fact that approximately above this limit, permanent damage to hearing can occur if the employee is exposed to the noise for a long period of time. At even higher noise levels, even short-term exposure can cause corresponding hearing damage. For example, permanent hearing loss may occur. Good hearing protection should therefore reduce noise as effectively as possible.

From when is the wearing of hearing protection compulsory in industry and trade?

Harmful noise is officially recognised as an irreversible health hazard in the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 and falls under risk category III, which shows how important protection against dangerous noise is. The latest EC directives set the following standards:

1. From a noise level of 80dB(A) hearing protection must be available and offered to the employee.

2. From a noise level of 85dB(A) the company is obliged to ensure that employees working in the noise area wear hearing protection.

Which hearing protection is suitable for industry and trade?

Earplugs are inserted directly into the ear canal to effectively seal it off from the outside. They are usually made of a soft plastic, silicone or similar material which, at least to a certain extent, adapts well and flexibly to anatomical conditions. However, this rarely works perfectly with mass-produced products, even though they do of course provide a certain degree of hearing protection in the event of noise pollution. Among other things, this can result in an unpleasant feeling in the ears or a less than perfect insulation of the ear canal against external noise. A higher quality version of the earplug is an individually fitted hearing protection. This is adapted by an expert to the anatomy of the wearer's ear. This allows both a better fit and better insulation of the ear against external sound pressure. Please contact us directly if you are interested in a suitable solution due to the necessary fitting. In contrast to earplugs, the capsule hearing protection is not inserted into the ear canal, but is put on by the user. It usually consists of two hard shells that are put over the ears and connected by a bow. Its aim is to create a zone around the outer ear that is acoustically as quiet as possible. It is certainly one of the most frequently used noise protection devices in the professional sector worldwide. In the simplest case, the sound pressure is passively damped. Due to the similar design, however, it can also be used in other versions as headphones with sound insulation.

How does hearing protection work in industry and trade?

Hearing protection with radio reduces the sound pressure reached in the ear canal, but also allows communication with colleagues or superiors via the built-in radio module. In this way, it is possible (if a separate transmitter is added) to communicate with each other during or between the work to be carried out together without having to do without hearing protection during noisy work. Some newer products also support the connection of smartphones, notebooks or other devices via Bluetooth interface and/or have an integrated microphone. This allows you to receive announcements from an employee or supervisor via the mobile phone network even in noisy working environments. This is advantageous in situations where a radio network is not reliable enough, but the mobile network is sufficiently stable for communication. With a microphone that is sufficiently shielded against ambient noise, it is even possible to conduct conversations directly from somewhat noisy surroundings without having to take off the noise protection. This saves the user from unpleasant surprises such as the full sound pressure of a jackhammer or machine engine suddenly starting in the immediate vicinity.

Active hearing protection adapts the attenuation of the sound to the noise level. In simple terms, this means that only sufficiently loud noises are attenuated by active hearing protection. In normal volume ranges, on the other hand, the technology enables largely normal hearing. This means that the inside of the ear is protected from damage without artificially restricting hearing in normal volume ranges. Imagine, for example, a very loud machine running in an industrial hall, which you approach together with a colleague. You can talk normally until the volume of the machine's operating noise reaching your hearing protection reaches a critical level. Only then will the sound pressure from the active hearing protection be reduced to protect your ears from damage. It is important that the technology reacts quickly enough to sudden noises such as the explosion of explosives or a machine tank (which can be very loud even from a safe distance) or the falling of a heavy load. Of course, this also depends on how often such noises usually occur in your working environment. For this reason, especially with cheaper models, the sound is often reproduced with a small delay inside the corresponding sound-insulating headphones after electronic processing. On high-quality models, on the other hand, this latency is often so low that it does not interfere with normal use in everyday working life. This is due to the need to control the volume of the signal before it is transmitted to the ear.

In any case, active hearing protection is a practical solution if you do not want to constantly remove your capsule protection or earplugs during work, for example to talk to a colleague at normal volume. A passive version does not adapt to the sound pressure levels, which often vary greatly during the working day. An active model, on the other hand, only dampens the volume until your employee switches off his noisy tools. In particular, this reduces the risk of hearing protection being regularly "forgotten" at some point for reasons of convenience. Of course, some of the technologies presented can also be combined with each other, which can lead to other interesting products. For example, capsule ear protection with radio can also have dynamic attenuation of ambient noise. Other solutions also allow people with hearing aids to work in noisy environments.

Where can I buy hearing protection for industry and trade?

In our online shop you will find a wide range of hearing protection solutions that are ideally suited for industry and trade. Our range includes various high-quality earplugs and ear muffs from different manufacturers. Custom-made hearing protection, which offers particularly high wearing comfort, can also be ordered from our shop.

Leading manufacturers and brands for industry and trade:

  • 3M
  • Crescendo
  • Honeywell / Howard Leight
  • Otifleks
  • Moldex
  • ePRO-STOP.A.

How much do hearing protectors cost in industry and trade?

Costs can vary greatly depending on the hearing protection solution. Earplugs in 200-pair packs are available from us in our online shop from as little as approx. 26 euros.

Our tip: If you are looking for professional, customised hearing protection that provides optimum protection for you and your employees, is light and comfortable to wear with a durability of several years, we recommend custom-made hearing protection.

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