The Value of Ear Plug Fit Testing


Only one factor was found to be a consistent predictor of good ear plug fit: one-on-one training.

By Renee S. Bessette Jun 01, 2011

Although prevention has been the mantra in occupational hearing conservation programs over the years, the hoped-for results have not been realized. Despite years of regulation, hours of training, and billions of dispensed ear plugs, the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in the workplace continues to rise worldwide. In the United States, more than 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise on a daily basis, and 8 million suffer from NIHL.1 In some noise-intense industries, the rates of hearing loss are tremendous. For example, 50 percent of carpenters and plumbers, and 90 percent of retiring coal mine industry workers have NIHL.2

Safety professionals have a universal challenge in protecting the hearing of their noise-exposed employees: How much protection do their employees actually achieve with their ear plugs?

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