Selecting Correct Hearing Protection

What do you need to know when selecting the right form of hearing protection?

The question that is rarely asked and is the most common reason people stop wearing hearing protection is

“How will I hear what is important for me to hear while wearing Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs)?”

Here is what we know:

  • HPDs have little or no effect on the ability of those with normal hearing to understand speech in a background of moderate noise.
  • At higher noise levels like busy traffic noise, HPDs improve the understanding for normal hearing people.
  • When the noise is louder than busy traffic, HPDs begin to decrease speech understanding for both normal hearing and hearing impaired listeners.
  • When heard through HPDs, speech quality can be degraded.

If someone asks me what is the best type of hearing protection, my answer always is that I need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the level and type of noise you find yourself in?
  • How long you are typically exposed to that noise each day?
  • What do you need to hear?
  • What is the physical shape of your ear and ear canal?


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All information is provided in the interests of Hearing Health education and is of a general nature. In all cases you should consult your doctor or other allied health professional for advice regarding your individual circumstances.