For years has sold hearing protection in the form of both muffs and plugs. Manufacturers of these products are required to assign a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) to each one to inform users of the level of protection offered. It should be understood that this rating ultimately is still approximate, not absolute, because each product will fit everyone differently, and not all users will wear or use the products correctly, thus affecting (reducing) the level of protection.

Rumor has it that this current rating system will soon evolve to a more accurate and universal system. Perhaps we”™ll re-examine this topic then, but now let’s look at what factors can hinder the performance of ear plugs or ear muffs. Avoiding these common mistakes could mean avoiding hearing loss, and will maximize the product’s effectiveness as well as your investment in the product.

Ear Plugs

  • Plugs are not inserted properly or deeply enough. When plugs are not properly inserted, their effectiveness can be reduced by 50%. Click here for illustrated instructions on proper insertion.
  • Disposable plugs are used beyond their intended lifespan. Such plugs are designed for one day of average use. Exceptionally dirty environments, or repeated extraction and replacing (additional rolling) of plugs may require that more than one new pair be used in a given day.
  • Reusable plugs are not cleaned properly or often enough. Plugs should be cleaned with water daily (and dried with dust-free cloth), or more if used in areas with heavy dust content.

Ear Muffs

  • Ear muffs are worn too tightly or too loosely. The muffs should fit snugly but comfortably over the ears, and should not lose their position with basic head movements.
  • The band is not properly placed on head. Ear muffs should be worn such that the supporting band rests upright, comfortably across the top of wearer’s head (excluding behind-the-head band styles).
  • Radio muffs are used too loudly. Ear muffs equipped with radios should not be played at maximum volume for extended periods of time. Playing at a moderate level will help save your hearing and improve the life of the batteries.
By | 2017-12-13T16:47:29+00:00 October 13th, 2008|Safety Tips|0 Comments

About the Author:

Michael Eldridge is a US Marine Veteran and the founder of He’s passionate about protective eyewear and promoting vision safety. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, fishing, CrossFit, mountain biking, camping with his family and watching Detroit Tigers baseball.

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