First and foremost, choose your hearing protection based on the area of application. The following criteria are relevant for your selection:
- Insulation value
- DIN EN 352
- Type of hearing protection
Attenuation value of hearing protection
The so-called simple insulation value is given with a single-number rating. The abbreviation for this is SNR. This value shows you the difference in noise between the effectiveness of hearing protection and the outside environment. You can see the reduction in the sound level from the decibels. For example, if you buy hearing protection with an attenuation value of 35 decibels to reduce the noise level of 100 decibels in your workplace, your hearing is exposed to 65 decibels with this protection.
A model with an SNR of over 30 decibels has a lot of insulation so that you can no longer hear the voices around you. If you wear hearing protection with an SNR between 20 and 30 decibels, you are well shielded from the noise and can hear loud talking from a short distance. If the SNR is below 20, the hearing protection provides light to moderate insulation, and conversations are possible.
What is DIN EN 352?
DIN EN 352 is a European standard for defining safety requirements for hearing protection in the workplace. The choice of the kind of auditory defense depends on the noise and job environment of the workplace. The hearing protectors must bear the CE mark, the manufacturer’s name or model designation, the EN number, and the nominal size information. Also, there must be instructions on how to wear, use and insert. In the case of earplugs, it must be stated whether you can reuse the model or use it only once.
Different types of hearing protectors
Different types of hearing protectors are available in stores. Select your hearing protection according to the area of application.
- Earplugs are suitable for a noise level of up to 115 decibels. When buying, pay attention to the information provided by the manufacturer because the models have different insulation values. You will also receive plugs made of different materials. Some models can be cleaned and used several times, and others are only suitable for single use.
- Earmolds are earplugs that a hearing care professional makes and fits your ear canal. These hearing protectors are popular with musicians. Earmolds are preferred if you require ear covering on a regular or periodic basis and prefer earplugs.
- A strap-Hearing protection is recommended if you need to remove earplugs often. The plugs are connected by a strap that you wear on the back of your neck or under your chin. This means that you always have your hearing protection to the hand.
- With capsule hearing protection, you have the choice between active and passive models. This variant consists of two capsules that are connected with a bracket. Earmuffs look like headphones. Active models have an electronic component that dampens noise and amplifies quiet noises. Passive hearing protection has no electronic element.
The comfort of hearing protection
If you want to buy capsule hearing protection, you should choose the right size. The capsules must sit firmly on your ears and must not wobble or slip. If you have chosen a too small model, the hearing protector can press, so you can get headaches after wearing it for a long time. Most models have an adjustable headband so that you can adapt the hearing protection to your head size.
When it comes to earplugs, you have to try out which version is comfortable for you to wear. Some users complain of ear pain with models that they have to insert into the ear canal. In that case, you can switch to malleable plugs made of silicone or wax, which close your ear canal from the outside.
Buy hearing protection online or on-site?
You can buy hearing protectors in specialist shops on site. You can get earplugs in drug stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. You must have earmolds made by a hearing care professional. The advantage of buying in a specialist shop is extensive advice. You can also try on the capsule hearing protection and test the wearing comfort. If you want to choose from many different models, you have to accept travel distances and time, because the space in a shop and thus the selection of products are limited.
When buying online, you have the option of comparing different hearing protectors from the comfort of your own home. As a rule, each product is described in detail so that you receive all the important data. You can find out how the hearing protectors perform in practice from the customer reports. Also, the prices in online shops are usually lower than in local shops.
Brief information about leading providers of hearing protection
- 3M Peltor ™: 3M is the abbreviation for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. It is an American company headquartered in Minnesota that was founded in 1902. The global group manufactures over 50,000 products and has branches in more than 70 countries. The Peltor ™ brand supplies you with earplugs, earmuffs, protective helmets, and other products.
- SCHALLWERK: The brand belongs to Protavis GmbH based in Bodman-Ludwigshafen. According to the company, it has set itself the goal of protecting the health of its customers and at the same time making everyday listening experiences more pleasant. The brand also provides ready-made earplugs for sleeping, music, festivals, work, and special models for women. SCHALLWERK also offers earmuffs for children.
- ECHTPower: ECHTPower has existed since 2014 and, in addition to hearing protection, offers video games, game accessories, charging stations, controllers, and products from the sports and outdoor sectors.
- Homitt: The Homitt brand belongs to Shenzhen Xin Tuo E-Commerce LTD and sells products in the home, garden, kitchen, and beauty categories.
History of hearing protection
The history of hearing protection began in 1939 with Kenneth L. Wade. The Americans developed the first earplug in petroleum jelly and paraffin to make it easier to insert into the ear. The first preformed stopper came from John S. Knight, which he developed in 1954. This model should protect the ears from loud noise. A few years later, in 1959, Maurice C. Rosenblatt made rubber earplugs. In 1962 the first silicone plug came on the market.