The ear is a very delicate part of the body and some damage that noise can cause is often irreversible. As hearing loss is cumulative over a period of years, many individuals will not realise that their hearing is being affected.
The European Physical Agents (Noise) Directive 2003/10/EC came into force in 2006. In simple terms, this directive requires that noise has to be eliminated and that if this is not possible hearing protection should be available at 80dB and must be worn at 85dB.
When selecting hearing protection it is essential to be aware of national laws, regulations, customs and practises. The following points should be considered: Required Sound Attenuation, Certification Mark, Wearer Comfort and Compatibility.
When selecting Ear protection, the wearer should note that, unlike in many forms of PPE, it is possible to have too much protection! The wearer still needs to be able to hear warning sirens and approaching vehicles etc.