It is estimated that in Britain alone more than one million employees are exposed to excessive levels of noise in the workplace and around 17,000 people already suffer work-related hearing loss, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions. It is not surprising then that employers are placing increasing importance on providing the right hearing protection with demand for a wider range of protectors with better performance.
To ensure hearing protection is fit for purpose, products for sale in Europe must meet the EN352 series of European standards. To meet these standards, rigorous testing and review of hearing protection products are carried out in the following areas (subject to product type):
- Materials and construction
- Sizing and adjustability
- Cup rotation
- Headband force
- Cushion pressure
- Resistance to damage when dropped
- Change in headband force
- Insertion loss
- Resistance to leakage
- Minimum attenuation
- Information supplied by the manufacturer
For hearing protection products destined for the American market, manufacturers should refer to the American standard ANSI/ASA S12.6-2008, and for Australia and New Zealand, AS/NZS 1270:2002.