Ear protector: Which is best for you in 2021?
Are you a person constantly exposed to very loud noises or that disturb your routine? Do you feel that it can harm your hearing, your sleep or your health in general? So today we are going to talk about something that can help you a lot: The ear protector.
Listed as an individual protection equipment (PPE), hearing protection can be indispensable in some professions, especially if they involve the use of tools or noisy machines. But that’s not all: He is able to help you in many other situations! Shall we learn more about this accessory?
First, the most important
- The ear protector is one of the most used options for personal protective equipment for the ear region. It is indispensable for anyone who is exposed to high levels of noise.
- The other option to the ear protector is the use of a noise damper. The choice should be for the equipment that makes you feel most comfortable.
- The most important feature for an ear protector is the level of noise reduction. You should use one that is able to keep you safe.
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The best hearing protectors: Our opinion
Choosing from so many ear protectors available on the market is difficult. So, in addition to the whole article that explains several details about the equipment, we also made a short list with very high quality models!
- The most effective protector
- The best for musicians
- The most traditional protector
After all, why should you wear ear protection, and not other personal protective equipment for your ears? What are the best materials? And what are the noise levels that human hearing can easily handle?
In our purchase guide, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about this important equipment!
Why is it necessary to wear ear protectors?
In our daily lives, we are constantly exposed to noise. From some, we have no escape, especially if we work handling tools or machines, we produce music or audio, we stay in busy places or close to large vehicles.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an exposure to a noise level of 85 decibels for 8 hours a day is sufficient to cause irreversible hearing loss. A drill, for example, works at an average of 80 decibels.
To avoid hearing loss in people constantly exposed to noise above the level considered healthy, there are some personal protective equipment. Among them, the most famous are the ear protectors and the noise mufflers.
The ear protector is used via insertion, that is, it must be placed inside the ear. It can be made of several different materials and the choice of model is mainly related to comfort and the level of reduction. The same goes for deciding between it and a noise damper.
Check the table below for the main advantages of using an ear protector:
How do I know if I need to use hearing protection in my service?
The ear protector can be used in simple everyday situations, such as at bedtime, reading or for meditation. However, it really becomes indispensable in jobs that involve high levels of noise.
To find out if you need an ear protector at your service, you need to know what noise levels you are exposed to. If you operate power tools, work with music or are always in busy places, it is very likely that use is recommended.
The recommended noise limit for exposure for 8 hours a day is 85 decibels.
The maximum limit for exposure for 8 hours a day is below 85 decibels. To be sure of the level of the environment in which you spend most of your time, the ideal is to use equipment such as a decibel meter.
We selected a video from the Trecos de Oficina channel that is very useful for measuring the noise level of 26 different tools. The conclusion is that with almost all of them, the use of hearing protection is essential:
What to do if the boss does not provide hearing protection?
One problem that can be quite serious is that you are employed in a company that does not provide hearing protection. However, be calm: Hearing protection equipment, according to legislation, is the company’s obligation.
Law number 8213 says in its article 19, first subparagraph, that companies are responsible for adopting measures that guarantee worker safety. This includes equipment such as hearing protectors.
Failure by a company to provide hearing protection for workers exposed to harmful noise levels is a criminal offense. Therefore, you have all the legal support to pursue your rights.
We recommend that, while you are in this service, use personal protective equipment on your own, but be sure to seek compliance with the law.
Did you know that air traffic controllers are the professionals most exposed to noise levels above what is allowed? In the control towers, during landings and takeoffs, the noise can be more than 140 dB.
Workers, carpenters, carpenters, civil construction technicians, miners, sound technicians, DJs, musicians and gardeners complete the list of the ten professionals with the greatest exposure to noise above the permitted level.
Hearing protection or noise damper?
The two most common personal protective equipment for the ear region are the ear protector and the noise damper. They perform exactly the same function and can have the same efficiency.The ear protector works by insertion: It is a small piece that must be placed inside the ear. The noise damper, in turn, is similar in shape to that of a large headset, with two shells made of foam.
As the efficiency of the two types is similar, one should choose the one with the most comfort. This is a very personal perspective.
But the hearing protector is easier to carry and does not conflict with other equipment, such as goggles or a helmet. It exists in one size, which also facilitates at the time of purchase.
On the other hand, it is less cost-effective: Although a box with a few pairs is cheaper than a muffler, each pair needs to be replaced with a new one frequently. In the long run, this generates a higher expenditure. You also need to be more careful with your hygiene.
In the following table, we compare the two pieces of equipment:
How much does it cost and where to buy an ear protector?
Hearing protectors are sold in boxes that contain several pairs (the number can be between three and twenty). We found each pair unit varying between approximately R $ 5 and R $ 100, which means a big difference. The cheapest ones are already of good quality.
Large drugstore chains must contain good hearing protectors, and you can even find them in some supermarkets. But the safest option is to purchase online. We recommend the Amazon.
Purchasing criteria: What to consider when choosing an ear protector
You already know why the use of hearing protection is important and how to compare it with the noise damper. If you are decided on your purchase, it is time to know some selection criteria. We selected four:
- Noise reduction level
- Cost benefit
Below, we go into more detail about each of them.
Noise reduction level
This is the most important criterion for choosing an ear protector. The packaging of each product must specify how much decibel reduction it provides. Thus, you can make the calculation in relation to the amount of noise to which it is exposed.
It is possible to find some hearing protectors capable of reducing the noise level by up to 40 decibels. If we think, for example, of exposure to 100 decibels, they are already able to take the user out of the risk level.
It is useless to use an ear protector with a reduction level that does not take the user out of the risk zone of more than 85 decibels. This is one of the reasons why the correct calculation of exposure is so fundamental.
The choice of material for your hearing protector should be based only on comfort. There are some options that are well established, such as foam and silicone, in addition to some more complex formulas that are quite successful, such as paraffin-soaked cotton.
If you are not allergic to any of these most used materials, you can test several until you find the one that makes you most comfortable. As long as the level of reduction is similar, there will be no difference in efficiency or in the protection offered by each of them.
There is no escaping a fact: The ear protector needs to be changed frequently. But what can vary is what is that frequency. In most models, the packaging itself will already provide information on how long the pair has requested replacement.
Always follow the directions on the package regarding the time for changing a pair.
The ideal is to follow this orientation. Do not try to use an ear protector for as long as you think it is still hygienic: This can get you into trouble. If the packaging says that the change must be made after two weeks, respect it! Your health is more important than saving a few dollars.
If you have found two models of hearing protection that have acceptable levels of reduction and are made of materials that make you comfortable, the decisive criterion for the purchase will be cost-benefit.
For this, you will have to take into account the value of a package, the number of pairs it contains and the recommended frequency of exchange. This way, you can find out how much you would spend per month on the equipment, making sure your pocket will feel less of the impact.
When your health is being respected, there is no problem trying to relieve your pocket too!