2aNS3. International activities in the use, standardization, and regulation of hearing protection.

Session: Tuesday Morning, May 14

Time: 9:25

Author: Elliott H. Berger
Location: E-A-R/Cabot Safety Corp., 7911 Zionsville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46268-1657


Prevention of hearing loss due to noise exposure often means one thing---the consistent and correct use of hearing protection. Since noise-induced hearing loss has been identified as one of the leading occupational diseases and injuries, there are millions of workers worldwide in need of, or already currently wearing, hearing protection. How well they utilize the products they are provided, as well as the extent and quality of government enforcement activities, is influenced, in part, by the standards and regulations that govern the testing and labeling of such products. As such, this paper will summarize current international standards on testing, labeling, and performance of hearing protectors as well as reviewing field performance and anecdotal observations pertaining to actual use. Attention will focus on ISO, CEN (Community on European Normalization), and Australian activities, as well as on a new draft ANSI standard (S12.6-199X) pertaining to the laboratory measurement of the real-ear attenuation of hearing protectors, and on the efforts of the National Hearing Conservation Association Task Force on hearing protector effectiveness to craft recommendations for the labeling of hearing protection devices sold in the U.S.

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996