Hearing loss is one of the most preventable leading occupational injuries in the workplace. A “one size fits all” approach simply does not work. Ear canal sizes vary widely across gender and populations. Females typically have an ear canal which is 20% smaller than males, and those of Asians and Africans have significantly smaller ear canals than Caucasians as a population. Offering choices to employees will help increase the success of your hearing protection program.
Not only do employees need choices for their hearing protection, they need to be taught the proper way to wear their earplugs. If you see most of the earplug sticking out of your employees ears, they have either the wrong size earplug or they have not inserted it properly. For best results, training should be on a one-on-one basis.
The following steps for foam earplugs are recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):