In industry, safety and health goals are to eliminate all accidents, keep employees working to their potential, and avoid debilitating long-term injuries or loss of life.
Fit testing (measures of attenuation by the hearing protector) with appropriate counselling is at the top of the list to get better-fitted hearing protection, user compliance, and operator error reduction.
Fit testing is required because noise reduction ratings (NRRs), which earplug manufacturers provide, are mostly unrelated to field protection. Most notably, fit testing can be used to detect ear canals with unusual configurations that are problematic with earplugs. Passing an earplug fit test is insufficient for ear fit test equipment programmes other safety measures must be taken.
What is earplug fit testing?
One effective way to shield your employees from noise in diverse settings is earplugs. Compound Services can test any earplug your employees require.
Applying the 3MTM E-A-Rfit TM Dual-Ear Validation System, Compound Services Australia conducts hearing protection fit testing. A specially created loudspeaker is incorporated into the 3MTM E-A-RfitTM Dual-Ear Validation System to properly present the test signal and real-time communication between microphones, speakers, and software. Using dual- microphones, you may measure the sound level inside and outside the hearing protector.
Fit testing is crucial for proving that the workers are safe. To ensure that each user is comfortable using, maintaining, and cleaning their respirators and hearing protection, as well as completing any documentation unique to each client, we offer individualised fit testing and training.
The process involved in earplug fit testing
Respirator fit testing checks that a tight-fitting facepiece effectively seals to the wearer’s face while matching their facial features. This testing is conducted under controlled conditions and can identify unsuitable facepieces that individuals should not use.
Training shall cover the following topics, as the base requirements:
- The importance of wearing hearing protection
- How to correctly fit an earplug or earmuff.
- Type of earplug and/or earmuff.
- Protection factors and limitations
Training is provided to workers to protect their hearing.
Ensure that an earplug or hearing protection device is fitted correctly and the advantages of wearing hearing protection, and receive a 3MTME-A-RfitTM report. Recertification and training may need to be done depending on employer/site requirements and it should occur once a year or biannually.
The most effective way to test the fit of earplugs:
- Quantitative Fit Testing for Earplugs and Hearing Protection Fit testing determines the individual amount of protection provided to each employee and eliminates uncertainty in managing compliance for your hearing conservation programme.
- It is quick, quantitative, and measures the hearing protectors’ objective Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR).
- It is possible to deliver documentation for compliance reporting.
Benefits of Earplug Fit Testing
Fit Check has been shown to be a very effective training tool. This solution requires attaching an ear clip-mounted remote tiny microphone to the employee at work. The worker dons the ear muff over the microphone, and the amount of noise that gets to their ears through the ear muff cup is measured and displayed.
- From new hires to high-risk workers, hearing protection fit testing benefits greatly.
- Identify the starting points for new employees.
- It assists in identifying employees who are not receiving appropriate protection, putting them in danger from threshold shifts.
- Validate the high levels of protection needed by workers in noisy environments
Fit, train and motivate
- Trains and evaluates staff on correct gear-fitting methods
- Encourages workers by demonstrating to them their power to safeguard their hearing
- Simultaneously tests both ears in less than 5 seconds.
- Ability to test earplugs and muffs
- tests between 125Hz and 8000Hz at 7 standard frequencies
- Scientifically grounded, impartial, and quantitative testing
Assess & Manage
- increases the effectiveness of your hearing conservation programme over time
- Indicates that workers require additional hearing protection fit testing training.
- Using the Environmental Site Services Software to input your noise exposure data can help you identify the most appropriate hearing protection and help minimise over- and under-protection
What is HPD fit testing?
A hearing protector fit test determines the amount of noise reduction or attenuation the hearing protector provides when worn by an individual. This real-world measurement is called a “Personal Attenuation Rating” or PAR. HDP fit testing is designed to ensure that the attenuation is appropriate for the user and to help validate hearing protectors that can be used effectively in their work environments. Employers and employees alike recognise the advantages of fitting hearing protectors, and fitting is now a best practice recommended for preventing hearing loss.
Who requires hearing protection fit testing?
Anyone who uses earplugs or earmuffs to preserve their hearing, especially those who work in:
- Fire and Rescue
How long does Earplug Fit Testing take, and where is it conducted?
- An earplug fit test or hearing protection fit test typically lasts about 10 minutes; an earplug fit test includes information on proper fit and instructions when repeat testing is required.
- A hearing protection fit test can be conducted at our facility or a client’s site.
How Does Hearing Protector Fit Testing Work?
F-MIRE technology serves as the foundation for the 3MTM E-A-RfitTM Dual-Ear Validation System. The system comprises of a specifically designed loudspeaker with a digital signal processor that enables real-time connection between the microphones, speaker, and software, as well as consistent presentation of the test signal.
A dual-element microphone assembly is attached to specifically probed hearing protectors measure the sound level inside the test subject’s ear canal. The external microphone measures the sound level outside the hearing protector and compares it to the sound level “in-ear” simultaneously. The measured attenuation of noise in decibels is the difference between the internal and external sound levels.
The 3MTM E-A-RfitTM Dual-Ear Validation System is an impartial measurement tool that does not rely on the test subject’s feedback. As a result, the 3MTM E-A-RfitTM Dual-Ear Validation System can test both ears concurrently at various frequencies in less than 5 seconds. In contrast to other subjective FAES systems, which call for quieter test conditions, it also permits typical background noise (up to 80 dB) throughout the testing. Furthermore, 3M earmuffs and certain communications headsets can be tested using the 3MTM E-A-RfitTM Dual-Ear Validation System.
Why choose hearing protection fit testing?
Fit testing can provide numerous benefits when incorporated into a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP). For instance, performing hearing protection fit tests help employers:
- Identify workers wearing hearing protection that is poorly fitting before the employee experiences hearing loss.
- Establish a special training opportunity where employees can observe the impact of properly fitted earmuffs on protection:
- One-on-one training focuses on the specific fitting concerns identified.
- When hearing protectors are worn correctly, workers can perceive the difference in sound.
- Refine hearing protector choices based on individually tested protection levels.
- Supplement hearing loss intervention strategies by assisting in properly training and protecting employees with hearing shifts.
- Implement a proactive, best practices approach to preventing hearing loss.
If you want to protect your hearing while working in a hazardous area, you must seek regular fit testing to determine whether or not your current earplugs provide adequate protection. protection.
From the above, it can be concluded that although ear protection is necessary for a workplace, it is not sufficient for protecting workers from hearing loss. There are a few other factors that need to be looked at to protect the workers. At the same time, there are a few precautions that you can take to ensure your ear plugs serve the purpose they are made for.