OHS Canada Magazine

Hearing Protector Wear-Time Evaluation Tool Available from Howard Leight

October 1, 2007

Health & Safety

Smithfield, RI — Many noise-exposed workers fail to realize how damaging it can be to remove their hearing protection even for a few minutes.

A new wear-time evaluation tool, available free from Howard Leight by Sperian, can help alert them to this danger.

The device is a simple disc, one side of which identifies the optimal amount of attenuation a hearing protection device (HPD) will provide over an eight-hour shift if it is removed for various lengths of time. The reverse side of the Wear-Time Evaluator offers advice on selecting the proper hearing protector.

“This question comes up again and again, in both our hearing conservation seminars and in everyday discussions with hearing conservation program managers,” said Renee S. Bessette, Marketing Manager for Sperian Hearing Protection, LLC, formerly the Bacou-Dalloz Hearing Safety Group.

“How much protection is lost by removing a hearing protector even for five minutes during an eight-hour shift? The Wear-Time Evaluator provides the answer in a very simple and meaningful way.”

Intended primarily as a training device, the outer ring of the larger disc shows a range of decibel (dB) levels of attenuation provided by various hearing protectors (i.e., their published Noise Reduction Rating, or NRR), while the smaller disc shows time increments of 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes.

To determine how much protection is reduced by removing an HPD during a work shift for a cumulative amount of time, simply align the pointer to the appropriate dB level, or NRR on the outer ring, and read the effective protection in the cutout next to the time increments. The wheel utilizes a 5 dB exchange rate, per the OSHA standard.

“For example,” said Bessette, “removing a 30 NRR earplug for only 5 minutes reduces effective protection to only 26 dB. Remove the earplug for half an hour, and the worker is only receiving 18 dB of effective protection during his or her eight-hour work shift. This loss can easily shift the balance from adequate protection to growing noise-induced hearing loss.”

The reverse side of the Wear-Time Evaluator is no less valuable, said Bessette. It lists a number of factors to consider when selecting hearing protectors for a workforce, including size, comfort, communication needs, and desired noise reduction. By moving the inner disc to each, key selection information is revealed.

Howard Leight Wear-Time Evaluators are available free to safety officers and educators simply by contacting Sperian Customer Care at 800/430-5490.

About Howard Leight by Sperian:
From our beginnings as a one-man operation more than 30 years ago, Howard Leight by Sperian has grown into one of the largest global manufacturers of hearing protectors in the industrial market and the recognized innovator in protection and people-oriented fit. Howard Leight offers the widest variety of earplugs and bands, ranging from the highest attenuating Max single-use earplug, to SmartFit’s Conforming Material Technologydelivering a more personalized fitto our convenient Leight Source dispensers. Utilizing Bilsom Technology, Howard Leight earmuffs raise the bar on innovative design, performance and comfort, with features like padded wire headbands, high-visibility designs, unique sound management technologies and multi-level attenuation options. Visit us online at www.howardleight.com

With nearly 6000 employees worldwide, Sperian Protection is resolutely geared towards international markets. The world leader in personal protective equipment (hearing, eye, respiratory and fall protection, gloves, clothing and footwear), the Group offers innovative products adapted to high-risk environments so that all workers in the manufacturing and services industries can work with confidence. Sperian Protection is listed on Euronext’s Eurolist and on the SBF120.

(To download electronic copy or HI-RES 300 dpi JPG, go to:

Media Contact:
Thomas R. Rankin, APR
(401) 884-4090
email: tomr@trankin.com

For additional product information, contact:
Sperian Hearing Protection, LLC
7828 Waterville Road
San Diego, CA 92154
Tel: 800/430-5490
Fax: 401/232-3110
email: rbessette@SperianProtection.com


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