Can I rely on hearing protection when carrying out noisy work?

No. It is not acceptable to rely on hearing protection alone to control exposure to noise. Hearing protection should only be used when extra protection is needed above what has been achieved using noise control techniques such as elimination of noisy tasks, substituting quieter processes, removing people from noisy areas and selection of quiet equipment.

If, after taking these measures, hearing protection is still required,

	Make sure the protectors provided give enough protection - aim at least to get below 85 dB at the ear, but don’t provide excessive protection as protectors which cut out too much noise can cause isolation or lead to an unwillingness to wear them;

	Target the use of protectors to the noisy tasks and jobs in a working day;

	Select protectors which are suitable for the working environment - consider how comfortable and hygienic they are;

	Think about how they will be worn with other protective equipment (e.g. hard hats, dust masks and eye protection);

	Provide a range of protectors so that employees can choose ones which suit them;

	Make sure workers are trained in how and when to use the hearing protectors.