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RR720 - Real world use and performance of hearing protection

This report considers the effectiveness of hearing protectors in everyday work situations. The study reported here was undertaken in two parts. The first consisted of interviews with employers to discuss management of noise and hearing protector use, and on site observation of hearing protector use. The purpose of these visits was to see:

The second part was objective laboratory measurements of hearing protector insertion loss. The purpose of these measurements was to quantify the reduction in protection due to poor fitting or maintenance for a range of hearing protectors. Earmuffs were tested using the MIRE (microphone in real ear) method while earplug insertion loss was measured using a head and torso simulator with a simulated pinna and ear canal.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-01-27