What is hearing protection?
Hearing protection refers to equipment and systems that protect hearing from dangerously loud noise.
What is attenuation (SNR, NRR)?
Attenuation is a general term that refers to any reduction in the strength of a signal. In the case of audio therefore, attenuation is the reducing (or dampening) of sound. The amount or degree of attenuation is most often expressed using units called decibels (dBs).
Why is hearing protection important?
Loud noise is dangerous and the impact it can have on a person’s hearing is irreversible. Exposing your ears to a 100 dB (decibel) noise – i.e. the noise levels of industrial equipment or an MP3 player at full volume – damages the inner ear, even if experienced for just 15 minutes. Working unprotected in loud environments for several hours at a time is even more risky.
The problem is simple: once destroyed, the microscopic hair cells of the inner ear do not grow back. Neither can these crucial tiny hairs be artificially recreated by any medical process.
The consequence is permanent hearing loss and a highly frustrating ringing in the ears (tinnitus). And the negative effects don’t stop there. In addition to reduced hearing capability, the consequences of exposure to noise include: stress and nervousness; reduced concentration and quality of sleep; degraded performance and productivity; increased risk of workplace accidents; difficulty to communicate; feeling of isolation; increased medical expenses.
What are some real-life examples of different decibel (dB) noise levels?