If you’re in an occupation that’s exposed to frequent loud noises, it’s important to use properly rated earplugs in order to prevent hearing loss. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) measures the effectiveness of hearing protection devices. The higher the NRR on a hearing protector, the better it will be at reducing noise.
Effect on Decibel Exposure
Hearing protection reduces the level of exposure to noise based on the noise reduction rating of the protection device. It’s worth noting that NRR is measured in decibels, but the hearing protector you used does not reduce the surrounding decibel level by the exact amount of decibels ascribed to the protector’s NRR. To actually determine the amount of decibel reduction provided, you take the NRR number (in decibels), subtract by seven and then divide by two. For example, if your earplugs are rated for 33 dB NRR, they would reduce noise exposure by 13 dB (33 – 7)/2 = 13.
What is Considered Excessive Noise?
Generally, excessive noise is defined as exposure to 85 or more decibels of sound over an 8 hour period. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employees to wear hearing protection at this level of exposure. Here are a few of the most common high level noise producers to give you an idea of what things are considered to be dangerous:
- 150 dB = Rock concerts at their loudest point.
- 140 dB = Firearms, air-raid siren, jet engine.
- 130 dB = Jackhammer.
- 120 dB = Jet plane take-off, amplified music, car stereo, band practice.
- 110 dB = Heavy machinery, model airplanes.
- 100 dB = Snowmobile, chain saw, pneumatic drill.
- 90 dB = Lawnmower, shop tools, truck traffic, subway.
- 80 dB = Alarm clock, busy street.
- 70 dB = Vacuum cleaner.
- 60 dB = Regular conversation, dishwasher.
- 50 dB = Moderate rainfall.
- 40 dB = Quiet room.
- 30 dB = Whisper, quiet library.
Hear Better with Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently-owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.
Come in for a walk-in appointment on Tuesdays & Fridays from 10:00am to 11:30am, or contact us to schedule an appointment by calling 410-698-6594 or visiting our contact page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn for more blog posts, news, and updates!