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PPE Management: What Trainers Need to Know about Fitting Earplugs

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Whether it is your first time in a job site, training camp or else you are in a safety briefing, nowadays there have emerged numerous ways on which you can use to wear earplugs. In most cases, the trainer at the job site will give you a hint on how to use the earplugs.

Recently it has been proved that the best method to learn about hearing protection is through thorough training. If you are a worker, you need to have some knowledge on how and when to make use of earplugs and in which way you can use them to the optimum.

When to wear them

They need to be worn, around any noisy place which includes:

  • Loud music to prevent induced hearing loss.
  • Explosives.
  • Aircraft.
  • Lawn equipment.
  • Around machinery.

Types of Earplugs

1. Earmuffs

Have emerged as a popular form of noise protection for those working around gardening equipment and at airports. They are mostly preferred by people who don’t like the way it feels to wear an earplug.

They can provide more noise protection than other earplugs. For that reason, those workers who work on aircraft engines, this is the best choice for you.

2. Custom noise plugs

Arguably, it is the most efficient when it comes to blocking extremely harmful sounds. You can purchase them through hearing healthcare professional. A reliable professional will first take an impression of your ear for a custom fit.

3. Reusable plugs

It is a less costly way that makes sure you are always prepared. In that case, it is easy to clean them for later use. At times they can be corded or non-corded.

4. Disposable Noise plugs

They are the best when you use them occasionally, but if you plan on wearing them often, just invest in a reusable pair. They must be discarded after every use since they are made from foam material.

It is not that easy to fit good PPE earplugs, but there are tips a trainer need to know so that they can train efficiently. Here are some of the most crucial tips you can’t ignore.

Prepare the earplugs

Though many types of earplug do not require protection, it is an essential part of getting full protection from earplugs. Using clean water, put the whole earplug into the cylinder. Roll with the fingers on one hand, but you can use two hands if the cylinder is very tight.

If they have been rolled well, they will become longer and stiffer. For this reason, it is much easier to make its way around the first bend of the ear canal.

And if you are in one in one training, consider rolling down foam earplug with one hand though you can also employ two hands. This will force it to glance off the fingers and go past your hands. Whether you use two hands or not, move it for replacement.

Open the ear canal

In most earplugs, the more you open the ear canal, the easier to achieve a proper fit. Get over your head and put on the top of your ear. This will easily open your ear canal. In most cases, pulling back and down open the canal best. However, some may open fully by just pulling out on the ear.

As for now, there are a couple of methods that help every user to learn the most efficient way to pull their ear open. Always make sure you have looked at both ears since many are different.

Also, you can take a picture of the ear canal at rest and then open their canal. The first bend in the ear canal is near the opening before the ear canal has been fully opened.

Insert the earplug

So that it can turn to be more effective, they need to be inserted with caution into the ear canal. After you have prepared the foam earplug, insert quickly so that you can get adequate attenuation. Your work will be made much easier when you properly open the ear canal.

Earplugs which are plugged too close to the ear canal are not effective and are known to cause Occlusion Effect. It is simply the amplification of the ear canal.

Checking the fit

Here are ways you can use to verify whether the earplugs are well fitted.

Acoustic check. You can attest that a hearing protectors become effective when it achieves an acoustic seal in the ear canal. It will significantly reduce noise levels. They should be blocking noise such that even if you cover your hands there shall be no significant change in noise level

Visual check. As long as you are not a blind musician. The only thing which should be visible is just the tip of the stem. No flanges should be outside the ear canal. An earplug that is visible from the front is a clear warning of poor insertion.

Subjective fit testing. Recently some tools have been developed such that they allow accurate measurement of real-world attenuation. This helps workers verify the protection offered by earplugs. One of the methods which have gained popularity is inserting into specially modified earplugs.