Any noises in the work environment that are too loud can cause severe discomfort. It can also cause temporary or permanent loss of hearing. Therefore it is desirable to eliminate all such harmful noises from the work environment. However, in many cases it is not possible to do so. In such case the operators working in the noisy environment must wear hearing protectors.
There are several types of hearing protectors available, classified in two broad categories - ear plugs and earmuffs. Ear plugs fit in the outer ear canal, and to be effective must block the ear canal completely. Earmuffs cover the entire outer ear, and are held in place by an adjustable head band. Good quality ear plugs and earmuffs are nearly equally effective in blocking the noise and protecting hearing. However, earmuffs do not fit properly over eye glasses and long hair.
Both the types of hearing protectors come in different ratings based on ability to block the maximum noise level. It is important that hearing protector with appropriate rating are used according to the nose level to which an operator is exposed.