Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly

We should recognize this risk!

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: protection

Noises are vibrations that propagate through the air like waves and are absorbed by the human ear. As long as they are within tolerable limits and do not disturb them, they are a perception one can live with.

The degree of danger depends on the frequency and strength of the sound waves. The frequency, measured in hertz (Hz), is the number of waves that emanate from a sound source in one second. Low frequency sounds are referred to as "bass tones", high frequency tones as "soprano tones". The strength, measured in decibels (dB), is the "sound pressure" that is applied to our hearing. It is also called "volume".

When frequency or volume are high, the noise becomes a danger. At the risk of anyone who is near the source of noise: he puts his health and his hearing at risk.

Circumstances of a threat

Duration of action per day 100% Dose 85 dB (A) Assessment level Hours 8 85 4 88 2 91 1 94 minutes 30 97 15 100 7.5 103 3.75 106 seconds 112 109 56 112 28 115 14 118 7 121 3.5 124

The hearing process

The organs of hearing are important but extremely sensitive organs that enable us to perceive and perceive vibrations and sound waves from the air around us. To put it simply, our organs of hearing transform these sound waves into nerve impulses and pass them on to the brain, where they are interpreted and "understood". The more we understand how our ears work, the more we realize how important it is to protect them from noise.

The hair and lard in the ear canal are the natural form of defense of our body; they protect the ear from dust, dirt etc. However, there is no natural defense against noise. Therefore, it is so important to wear effective hearing protection.

Structure of the ear

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: matters

A: Outer Ear B: Auditory Canal C: Tympanum (eardrum) D: AnvilE: StirrupF: Semicircular channelsG: Eustachian tube

1: The outer ear

The outer ear consists of the auricle, the ear canal and the eardrum. The outer ear picks up the sound waves, concentrates them and channels them to the eardrum. When a sound wave hits the eardrum, it vibrates and transmits the movement into the middle ear.

2: The middle ear

The middle ear consists of three very sensitive bones: the hammer, the anvil and the stirrups. Due to the vibration of the eardrum these bones are moved against each other and thus transmit the vibration to a wider membrane, the antrum mastoideum (oval window).

3: The inner ear

The inner ear consists of semicircular channels and the abalone. The abalone is closely covered by the auditory cells, which are equipped with extremely sensitive hairs. As the oval window moves, it vibrates a fluid in the cochlea that stimulates the auditory cells and thus the auditory nerve.

4: The auditory nerve

It transmits the nerve impulses to the brain, which transforms the impulses into the sense of hearing, in other words into a form that allows us to perceive the sound.

5: The abalone

Heavy noise can damage the fine auditory cells in the snail. Destroyed auditory cells can not regenerate, so hearing impairment is incurable.

What noise can cause

The human body responds to noise with physical, mental and emotional signs when a level of over 70 dB is reached. The big problem with noise is that its effects are not immediate - hearing decreases in small increments and gets worse over time. However, if this happens, there is no cure and no treatment option - the damage is irreparable!

Effects on the body

  • Constriction of the blood vessels
  • Higher blood pressure
  • muscle contraction
  • Anxiety and stress
  • sleep problems
  • Possible interruption of the menstrual period; impotence
  • Buzzing noises in the ears

Effects on hearing

Acoustic trauma - sudden loss of hearing: caused by traumatic noise such as an explosion.

Temporary loss of hearing: after the ear has been exposed to intense noise - even for a short period of time. Hearing returns to normal after some time.

Permanent damage to the hearing: after the ear has been exposed to high intensity noise for a long time. This damage is irreparable, because the auditory cells are then destroyed.


  • A "humming" or other unusual sounds in the ear. These noises usually occur in quiet surroundings or (after intensive work) at bedtime.
  • Inability to hear tones in the low / high frequency range.
  • Difficult to follow and understand a conversation or make a phone call.
  • All sounds are perceived only muted.

Measures against hearing loss

  1. First, regular hearing tests should be performed. The hearing is tested in a silenced cabin using an audiometer, where sounds of different frequencies and strengths are emitted via headphones. The subject must signal to the examining physician when she hears a tone. Subsequently, the "audiogram" produced during the test is compared to standard hearing levels.
  2. It is recommended that anyone working in a high-noise environment undergo an audition once a year.

hearing protectors

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: hearing

  • Earmuffs: covering the whole ear. They must be cleaned regularly and the replaceable parts replaced when worn or damaged.
  • Fixed ear plugs: they are stuffed into the ear canal and are offered in different sizes. It is very important to choose the right size for your own ear. If the plugs are too big, they cause a feeling of pressure; if they are too small, then they will not unfold their full effect.
  • Elastic foam ear plugs: they are also inserted into the ear. Because the foam expands and fits in every ear, it only comes in one size. They are cone-shaped and adapt well to the ear canal. They are light and easy to use and can be used with other forms of personal hearing protection.

The choice of the right hearing protection

Choosing the right hearing protection depends on the type of noise and working conditions. The responsible safety officer should be able to select the right type of hearing protection. One very important aspect is the question of how long the personal hearing protection has to be worn. The more convenient and trouble-free such ear protection is, the longer it can perform its function. The following points play a role in choosing the right ear protection:

  • Fit: The ear must be completely sealed.
  • Effectiveness: The noise must be damped effectively.
  • Convenience: Since ear protection must be worn at the time when there is a high level of noise, such hearing protection must be as light and comfortable as possible. He should not distract or irritate.
  • Easy to use: Hearing protection must be practical and easy to use.
  • Compatibility: Other protective devices such as helmet, goggles, welding mask or respirator may be worn at the same time.

Proper use of earplugs

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: protection

Roll stopper

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: hearing

Insert plugs

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: matters

Hold the stopper

  1. Wash your hands. Roll the earplug between your fingers and compress to the smallest possible diameter.
  2. To insert the plug more easily, pull the ear up and to the side. Then insert the plug into the ear canal.
  3. Hold the plug in this position until it has expanded. Now the plug is inserted correctly.

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: matters

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: protection

Hearing Protection: Why it matters and how we use it properly: properly

  • Do not touch the ear plugs with dirty hands! Wear the plugs throughout the time that is being worked on! Only remove plugs when absolutely necessary.
  • Replace dirty plugs with new ones.
  • A washing of the earplugs is not recommended.

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