Performance of hearing protectors is often less than that reported on the packaging. One reason is that protectors are not worn for all of the required time. When protectors are removed in noisy areas, even for short periods, the overall protection provided is severely reduced.
This tool shows the dramatic decrease of effective protection in relation to percentage of the time not worn. In the example, hearing protectors with attenuation of 25dB are provided for 1 hour of noisy work per day.
Any hearing protector worn for half of the time required will give no more than 3dB of effective protection, irrespective of its protection rating.
Employers can improve the protection gained from hearing protection by:
Employees have a duty to make full use of hearing protectors which have been provided to them.