When you’re exposed to noise in your workplace, you’re probably already familiarized with the term “hearing protection ratings”. However, and unfortunately, not all employers and employees in these areas are as informed as you are and they have no idea what are hearing protection ratings and Noise Reduction Rating (NRR rating). When you do have a lot of noise in your workplace, you really need to know what these are or you might be jeopardizing your hearing. And this is something that you just can’t recover.
So, what are hearing protection ratings?
These are commonly referred to as Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). Simply put, NRR rating is a standard or a guideline that serves as a reference in what concerns with the amount of predicted hearing protection a specific equipment will supply at any specific period of time, in a very noisy workplace. A vast majority of hearing headphones are designed exactly to decrease the amount of noise that you are exposed to, to make sure that you have a safe working environment.
NRR rating is measured in decibels. For example, a specific equipment can be screened so that you know how much it is able to decrease the decibels.
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How can you tell that it is a good Noise Reduction Rating?
All hearing protection devices like headphones need to be tested and affirmed by the American National Standards (ANSI). Plus, every equipment is subjected to numerous rigorous testings to make sure they are suitable by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
When you see a hearing protection system that has a high Noise Reduction Rating, this means that it has a larger window of expected noise reduction. So, when you’re looking to buy this equipment, you should definitely consider looking at the NRR. The higher the NRR, the best it will be.
How Does The Noise Reduction Rating Work?
When you’re wearing some headphones or any other hearing protection equipment that can help you deal with all that noise in your workplace, the noise exposure level is determined based on the NRR of your device. So, in order to determine the exact amount of decibel levels that are being reduced, you need to do a little math. What some people don’t understand is that the equipment you’re using to protect your hearing doesn’t decrease the decibel levels in your workplace expressed exactly by the Noise Reduction Rating that is tied to your equipment.
Let’s say that you work in a noisy place like a construction site. Here, you can be exposed up to 100 Decibel. If you bought some headphones to protect your hearing that includes an NRR of 30 Decibels, the noise exposure will not be lowered to 70 Decibel; it will be lowered to 88.5 Decibel. Confused? There’s no need to be. It’s only math.
When you want to determine the exact level of noise that you’re exposed to after the reduction made by the equipment you’re using (like headphones), you need to subtract 7 to the NRR level of your equipment. In this case: 30-7=23 Decibels. Then, you need to divide the result by 2, meaning: 23/2=11.5. Finally, you will need to subtract the result from the original exposure level in Decibels that was 100, in the example, we provided: 100-11.5=88.5 Decibels.