Ear protectors suppress noise while maintaining communication

March 1, 2006
Hearing protection is necessary not only to safeguard health of personnel at work, but also to prevent deterioration in performance.

Hearing protection is necessary not only to safeguard health of personnel at work, but also to prevent deterioration in performance. To be effective, the protection method must dampen environmental noise while at the same time allowing the user to communicate with other staff and hear alarms. The apparatus should also be comfortable, allowing constant use.

These guidelines are satisfied by the EARmo range of personal hearing protectors, supplied by Swedish company UMEC Earfoon, a general agent in the Nordic region of the EARmo group. In the Dutch sector, offshore customers include NAM and Halliburton.

Workplace noise is the most common cause of impaired hearing, says UMEC Earfoon representative Dan Lindgren. Damage can be caused by a single event, and may be irreparable. Excessive noise occurs sooner than people think - the critical noise level of 80 decibels is often exceeded in a work environment.

Moreover, short periods of exposure to high noise levels can cause the same damage as longer periods of exposure to lesser noise. So five minutes’ exposure to 100 dB is equivalent to eight hours at 80 dB, or four hours at 85 dB. Individuals also vary in their sensitivity to noise - exposed to the same high noise level, some will suffer hearing damage sooner than others.

The EARfoon Multiclick protector allows the user to adapt the hearing protection between different levels of dampening.
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UMEC Earfoon takes all these factors into account. As a first step, each person’s ear canals are checked, and an imprint taken. The protectors fit the user’s ears precisely and are comfortable to wear, even though made of hard-wearing acrylic.

An acoustic filter is fitted inside each protector, adjusted to the individual’s hearing. This allows the user to communicate while dampening the level of environmental noise. Different filters provide different levels of noise reduction - the choice of filter is based on noise measurements taken at the workplace.

If the user moves between high and low noise environments, the EARfoon Multiclick protector makes it possible to change between filters with different dampening values. If the user needs to communicate by radio, another version of the protector allows the use of a radio earplug.

For more information, contact Dan Lindgren, EARfoon Norge. Tel +47 6245 4345, fax +47 6245 4346. [email protected], www.earmo.com.