Ear protection equipment is a very important safety supply as it is used to help protect people’s ears from various types of work site hazards such as excessive noise and dust. Basically ear protection can be seen as a type of noise control. Excessive noise can not only lead to deafness, but it can also impair the victim's health and brain activity. You should also be aware that once you lose your hearing or part of your hearing that it can not be recovered even by surgery. Even though the noise in your work area may not bother you or sound very loud it could still be doing damage to your hearing. Many harmful noises come in the form of high pitched whistles etc.
There are various types of ear protection equipment used such as reusable earplugs, earmuffs, hearing protection dispensers, electronic earmuffs, disposable earplugs and hearing bands. Some types of filters in ear protection equipment permit only specific frequencies to flow through and they block out the unwanted harmful frequencies. You may also be able to protect your ears by sound proofing your work station.
Ear protection devices such as ear plugs are generally made of a soft plastic or foam-like fiber that fit snugly into the ears and then expand, blocking out the noise. These devices do allow residual noises in, so if someone stands close to you and shouts then their voice can be heard lightly. These plugs can be either disposable, for single use or they can be washed and reused many times. They come in various shapes like flange, bell, T, pill, bullet, flat arrow and oval pad. Ear muffs look like headphones and they have a foam-covered flange fixed to a flexible headband to totally cover the ears. This offers you full protection against all types of sound.
One of the newer devices on the market is electric ear plugs. These ear plugs can be custom made for fit and they filter harmful, loud noises, but allow all normal level noises such as conversation through. These earplugs are ideal for people who still want to be aware of the natural sounds around them, but also need protection from harmful sounds.
It’s important that your ear protection devices fit you properly and they don’t feel uncomfortable while you are working. If you are wearing protection devices that block out almost all of the noise you have to make sure that there is some kind of alarm warning system in place in case of an emergency. For instance, if you are working on a large industrial press and are wearing ear muffs you may not be able to hear an audio alarm, so you would have to have a visual alarm installed in place such as a flashing light to warn you of any dangers in the plant.