QuickFit Earplug Test Device - Objective
Description:To improve the level of hearing protection by providing workers with an inexpensive, easy-to-use device to check earplug fit. Background Approximately 30 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise on the job, placing them at risk of permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and other disorders. Although the preferred solution is to eliminate noise through engineering controls or to reduce noise exposure through administrative controls, hearing protectors are critical when noise is unavoidable. Studies of hearing protector users have shown that average protection values in the real world are much lower than the labeled noise reduction ratings determined in laboratories with trained and motivated subjects. Even worse, many hearing pro tector users get virtually no protection at all because of poor fit. The studies also show that users have a harder time achieving adequate protection levels with earplugs than with earmuffs. It s difficult for users to tell if earplugs are working well just by looking at them. A more accurate approach is to check how much they block or attenuate noise. Earplugs vary in their attenuation characteristics, with most providing a maximum of 20-35 decibels of noise reduction when worn correctly. Any earplug that s suitable for use in noisy settings will attenuate noise by at least 15 decibels. Personal fit testing is an effective way to help hearing protector users improve the fit and protection levels of the devices. However, existing fit-testing systems are expensive and unsuitable for use at many industrial worksites.
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