The purpose of this document is to provide general guidelines to all Yukon government employees on PPE - "Hearing Protection."
For detailed information regarding "PPE - hearing"," please review Yukon Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (YOHSR), Part 1: General, Section 1.25 and YOHSR, "Occupational Health," Section 4 - 6.
Hearing protection should be worn if the noise or sound level at the workplace exceeds 85 decibels (A-weighted) or dB(A). Hearing protectors reduce the noise exposure level and the risk of hearing loss.
The effectiveness of hearing protection is reduced greatly if the hearing protectors do not fit properly or if they are worn only part time during periods of noise exposure. To maintain their effectiveness, they should always be worn, and should never be modified.
To prevent hearing loss, employees must wear suitable hearing protection when in noisy environments. Three types of hearing protection are:
- Ear plugs which are inserted to block the ear canal. They may be premolded (preformed) or moldable (foam ear plugs). Ear plugs are sold as disposable products or reusable plugs. Custom molded ear plugs are also available.
- Semi-insert ear plugs which consist of two ear plugs held over the ends of the ear canal by a rigid headband.
- Ear muffs which consist of sound-attenuating material and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear and hard outer cups. They are held together by a head band.
The following list summarizes the differences between ear plugs and ear muffs.
Comparison of Hearing Protection
- small and easily carried
- convenient to use with other personal protection equipment (can be worn with ear muffs)
- more comfortable for long-term wear in hot, humid work areas
- convenient for use in confined work areas
- requires more time to fit
- more difficult to insert and remove
- require good hygiene practices
- may irritate the ear canal
- easily misplaced
- more difficult to see and monitor usage
- less attenuation variability among users
- designed so that one size fits most head sizes
- easily seen at a distance to assist in the monitoring of their use
- not easily misplaced or lost
- may be worn with minor ear infections
- less portable and heavier
- more inconvenient for use with other personal protective equipment.
- more uncomfortable in hot, humid work area
- more inconvenient for use in confined work areas
- may interfere with the wearing of safety or prescription glasses: wearing glasses results in breaking the seal between the ear muff and the skin and results in decreased hearing protection.