Noise exposure and Hearing Protection Class selection
Selection of hearing protection and there the best ear plugs for your situation, is based on the eight-hour equivalent (LAeq,8h) and not at a peak level as many seem to think. To find the right LAeq,8h for you, we suggest reading our blog about Choosing the Right Ear Plugs, so you can get a better understanding. You can use the calculator below now or afterwards. Fill in the noise levels at your workplace and how much time you spend at those levels.
For example: an angle grinder that produces 110 dB, is not operated for 8 hours a day, but normally only a couple of minutes of time spread over the day, which can add up to, say 1 hour actively operating it. The time in between might be spent with changing workpieces, welding, reading drawings, communication etc.
Every 3dB increase in LAeq,8h and the allowed exposure time halves. For example, 8 hours at 85 dB is “acceptable” without hearing protection. At 88dB average noise level, this is only 4 hours. At 91 dB, 2 hours etc. Realise that noise causes hearing damage but also fatigue, sleeping problems, irritation, misjudgements, etc.
We can offer you a suitable product for every situation, as we have custom-made earplugs from Class 1 and up, including Class 5 earplugs. But it is important to find the right ear plugs for you first. Whether it is about ear plugs for industry, motorsport, gunsport, aviation, music, military, sleep, swim or other needs.
The calculator, selection criteria and other recommendations are based on the same methods as recommended by the Department of Labour.
Another Safe Exposure Times Calculator you can find here. A table with all kinds of noise and their levels can be found here too.
Click here to open the eight-hour equivalent calculator.
It is essential to select hearing protection from the correct class, as under-protection is unsafe and over-protection is unsafe as well! It is important to Choose The Right Hearing Protection. Overprotection causes discomfort and acoustical isolation, as well as difficult communication and loss of environmental awareness.
Even with the best hearing protection, if hearing protection is not worn 100% of the time, effectiveness is reduced dramatically. I.e. 10 minutes in a full day not worn in the noise reduces the overall protection by 40%.