The type of hearing protection you choose needs to reduce your sound level sufficiently. That means you need to know the decibel (dB) level you are being exposed to—whether on the job or in your own backyard—to ensure that you are reducing the sound to a safe level, generally between 75 to 85 dBA.
In other words, do you need to reduce your noise level by 10 dB? Or do you need more protection than that?
Noise Reduction Rating
Not all hearing protectors provide equal protection—and that’s a good thing! Check the Noise Reduction Rating on the protectors so you can meet the proper level of safety. Bear in mind that you aren’t trying to eliminate all sound. You still need to be able to hear and speak to co-workers or hear equipment or other sounds. Use the “Goldilocks” approach: not too much sound, not too little sound, but just right!
The bottom line is that hearing protection, once it meets the appropriate level of protection, needs to be both comfortable and convenient to use. The best hearing protection offers no protection if you don’t use it!