Best Hearing Protection

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Purchasing the Best Hearing Protection

When shopping around for ear protection, remember that the best hearing protection isn't always the most expensive. In many cases, perfectly adequate protection for your ears is available for only a few dollars. It pays to keep in mind your target application, and shop for your specific needs.

For most uses, the best hearing protection also means the most noise-reducing hearing protection. Generally, ear plugs reduce noise in the range of 10-30 dB. For most applications, a 20 dB reduction will take the sound entering you ears back down to safe levels.

To make shopping easy, the EPA requires that all forms of commercially available hearing protection be tagged with a NNR rating. This rating tells you how many decibels the sound entering your ear will be reduced by. For instance, an NNR rating of 20 corresponds to a reduction of approximately 20 dB.

On More Expensive Hearing Protection

Some hearing protection devices are custom-made for your ear. An audiologist or other specialist will take a mold of your ear canal, and a custom ear plugs will be cast in silicone from the mold. While an earplug manufactured like this may be the most comfortable fit available, it isn't necessarily the most noise-reducing ear plug. Online research can help insure that you find the right earplug for your needs.


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