Industrial Ear Defenders: A Complete Guide (2019)

ear protection

In the workplace, you need to be confident that your choice of PPE ear protection (Personal Protective Equipment) will keep your employees protected. One of the key forms of PPE is hearing protection. Some 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work.  The two methods of PPE ear protection that can be used are in ear defenders, or standard industrial ear defenders.

What are industrial ear defenders?

Industiral ear defenders are a form of PPE ear protection designed to protect the wearer against harm from excessive noise.

They consist of two cups, which cover the external part of the ears, connected by a solid-material band (sometimes padded) which fits over or behind the head to hold the cups in place.

How do Ear Defenders work?

The protection provided by industrial ear defenders is mostly due to the cup part.

Usually, the outer covering of the cup is made from a hard thermoplastic, and within the cup is an acoustic foam. This foam increases air resistance, absorbs the sounds waves and thereby reduces the amplitude of the waves that enter the ear.

The cushioned area around the edge of the cups work in the same way and ensures the cups fit closely to the shape of the wearers head. This close fit ensures there is complete protection around each ear.

Even the headband can play a part in the protection provided, although only to a limited extent. This is because the shape and rigidity of the headband will affect how tightly the cups are held to the ears – a tighter fit will slightly increase the level of PPE ear protection, although having it too tight will be uncomfortable. Industrial ear defenders are unlike in ear defenders which simply sit within the ear canal.

ear protection

When to wear PPE ear protection?

As stated in The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, the exposure level at which employers need to provide hearing protection is a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 85 dB. There is also a maximum exposure limit of 87 dB—the noise level produced by a hand-held drill.

A standard vacuum cleaner operates at 85 decibels, so it’s not hard to imagine that machinery can be a lot louder. A belt sander measures in at about 103 decibels and can only be heard for seven minutes before damage begins.

Many factories, construction sites and facilities have machinery and tools that employees will use for extended periods of time every day. Daily exposure and long hours unprotected against these noises can lead to irreversible damage. PPE ear protection should therefore be worn in any environment where workers are considered to be at risk.

What are the best ear defenders? 

A good industrial ear defender will account for all remaining risks in an area where sound still has the potential to harm. The noise levels of individual workplaces should be properly calculated and in ear defenders should be purchased accordingly.

All personal protective equipment that you purchase should meet the requirements of international standards and relevant legislation. BETAFIT’s range of ear defenders meet all necessary standards for hearing protection – compliant and approved to EN 352-1:2002. There are also in ear defenders if you would like a more subtle way to protect your hearing. These sit inside the ear canal and are a snug fit.

PPE Ear Protection | BETAFIT PPE Ltd

How to choose your PPE ear protection supplier? 

When it comes to choosing a supplier for your in ear defenders, you need to know that the products you buy are going to keep yourself and your employees safe. All PPE ear protection should be distinctly marked with all necessary markings such as EN standards and CE markings. Its capabilities should be clear to ensure the right level of protection is provided.

At BETAFIT we’re concerned with providing the best standard of PPE in the industry. Our PPE ear protection is provided with the unique specifications of the product and marked to show its clear compliance with legislation.

Not sure what fit or style is right for your needs? Click ‘Add to sample request’ on any one of our suitable products and we can send one out to you for you to test. For more information on in ear defenders, industrial ear defenders, or our hearing protection range, contact us on 08455 444 000 or email [email protected].

This article was written by the Technical Team at BETAFIT PPE LTD.

Other articles you might be interested in:

An introduction to PPE
Ear protection: what employers should know 2019
Safety glasses: what employers should know 2019