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Headphones

Headphones

Determining the need for hearing protection begins from the company’s risk assessment during which, the noise level is measured in five different workplace locations, and adequate protective devices determined. Two aspects must be kept in mind about the noise hazard:

  • noise level, and
  • time spent in the noise.

Example: 15 minutes among 100 dB(A) noise has exactly the same influence as working 8 hours in 85 dB(A) noise.

Hearing protective equipment must be provided to the employees if:

  • the employee wants or demands it,
  • the noise level is 85 dB or above.

In the first case, the employee can use the protective equipment as they please; in the second case, using the protection is mandatory.

The use of hearing protection equipment is mandatory in the following cases: working with a metal press, pneumatic drill or hammer; ramming construction poles, explosive works, timber and textile works, using a bolt or nail hammer, and all other works where the noise level exceeds 85 dB(A).

When choosing the hearing protection equipment, also the other extreme must be kept in mind. If noises are suppressed too much, the employee is “cut off” from the collective and environment, and can’t hear even the important sound signals. A sensible suppression of the noise level could be up to 70 dB.

Choosing hearing protection begins with answering the following questions:

  • what is the noise level on the workplace, i.e. the noise intensity (dB)      and noise frequency (Hz);
  • what is the required damping power to decrease the noise to the      allowed level (desirably below 80 dB, but not below 70 dB) – different      earplugs have a different damping power;
  • what is the working environment like (cold, hot, damp, work with      chemicals, work with food products, soiling, whether employees must be      able to communicate with one another or hear special sound signals);
  • how long is the wear/use time (there is a huge difference whether      hearing protection must be used a few times a day for some minutes, or      during the entire working day; it is important whether the noise is      temporary or persistent; whether the noise is stable, changing, abrupt, in      impulses);
  • what are the user’s preferences (there are users whose’ external      auditory canal is more sensitive to pressure; some wear optical glasses,      thus, the constant pressure of headphones causes discomfort or pain to the      auricles; positions and works exist when different personal protective      equipment must be used simultaneously and these must suit together, not disturb      one another nor make the use of personal protective equipment      uncomfortable).

All hearing protective equipment, both headphones and earplugs, must correspond to the standard EN 352.

Use

Prior to the use, make sure that the protective equipment is clean and unharmed.

When using headphones with headbands, the headband must be adjusted so that it would not put too much pressure on the head.

If the hygiene set (hygienic disposable protective
covers that do not decrease the headphones’ noise damping power and which are used in a soiled or hot environment) is used, it must be checked that it is clean and dry. If necessary or when soiled, the personal protective equipment must be replaced.

The headphones must be tight around the ears, because that is the only way they are of use.

After the use (usually, at the end of the workday), the headphones must be cleaned following the manufacturer’s recommendations (in the case of most common headphones, it is possible to remove the inside dampening layer for washing or replacing, if necessary).

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