Monthly Archives: April 2016

Why Must Hearing Protective Devices (HPDs) Be Tested?

April 18, 2016

Why Must Hearing Protective Devices (HPDs) Be Tested? Is It Just for Labelling Purposes?

The Good, The Bad and The Unknown About Testing HPDs (Hearing Protective Devices)

Here’s your problem: You have a noisy workplace or workplace activity and you have a person who works in that noisy workplace or conducts the noisy workplace activity. You want to protect the person’s noise-exposure level so you turn to the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) value from a Hearing Protective Device label to guide you in your choice of product. You do your calculations and trust the testing procedures to again guide you to make the best choice of HPD.

What should the concerned industrial hygienist, audiologist, or consumer do to protect the person’s noise-exposure level?

Let these 5 rules guide you:hearing protection devices

Rule 1. Be informed. The primary problem with HPDs is that they vary widely in effectiveness from individual to individual. Recognize that whatever rating value is on the label, it is a lower boundary, not a benchmark.

Rule 2. Recognize that HPDs, the head, and the ear are complex systems. The acoustics of HPDs aren’t accurately described by the principles of acoustics that were derived for large-scale systems such as walls, doors, windows, churches, and concert halls. HPDs and the head and ear to which they couple are a complex system. Change one element, or one part of one element of that system, and the entire system changes affecting the effectiveness of the HPD.

Rule 3. Employ fit testing if possible. The so-called gold standard for determining the effectiveness of an HPD is Real-Ear Attenuation at Threshold (REAT). The any type of fit-testing procedure is referred to as FAES – Field Attenuation Estimation System. The purpose of FAES is to insure that whatever HPD is used is effective for the individual’s noise exposure level. 

Rule 4. Select the HPD with the lowest possible NRR or, if available, the best SNR(SF84) for the noise exposure levels of concern.  The trend for the past 50 years has been to select the HPD with the highest NRR. This has resulted in many HPDs on the market that at face value are horribly overprotective.

Rule 5. Check the testing laboratory and the date of the testing. In general, try to ascertain if the testing laboratory is independent from the manufacturer. . Also, confirm that the laboratory regularly tests HPDs. For some products the data may be more than 30 years old from a laboratory that tested only one product. Also beware of excessively small standard deviations on the label; values less than 3 dB are suspicious.

Download a Research Study conducted by John Franks Ph.D

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What is the new CSA Z1007 Hearing Loss Prevention Program Management (HLPP) and what does it address?

April 15, 2016

CSA Z1007 Hearing Loss Prevention Program Management (HLPP)

In Canada the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) develops and maintains standards and codes that
impact the safety, environment, global economy and foster wider acceptance and adoption of new or innovative technologies. Volunteer experts from industry, governments, academia, regulators and consumers contribute to make standards work for people and business.

With workers in many occupational sectors being exposed to high levels of occupational noise it was critically important to identify these hazardous situations and implement preventative measures to help protect the hearing of workers.

CSA Z1007 – Hearing loss prevention program (HLPP) management is the first in a series of standards on occupational noise control to help address these potential concerns to worker health and safety. It covers all aspects of the creation and management of hearing loss prevention programs.

The standard helps guide businesses in establishing a management process for an effective hearing loss prevention program

SA Z1007 Hearing Loss Prevention Program Management (HLPP)

“The idea is to make them knowledgeable managers of hearing loss prevention programs,” explained Jeffrey Goldberg – Custom Protect Ear / chair of the technical committee, on May 1 at Partners in Prevention, an occupational health and safety conference.



“The standard tells the non-professional they need to do a noise survey,” he noted. “It doesn’t necessarily tell them how to do it; it tells them how to know they’re getting an effective one from a service provider that is going to do it for them.”

Some of the concerns addressed were the fact that there were different criteria for Action Levels, Protection Levels and Exchange Rates. The difference between Canada & the U.S.A. show in the chart below:

USA Canada
Federally Regulated and Inspected Provincially Regulated and Inspected
Regulations are Uniform Across the Country Different Criteria in 14 Jurisdictions Across the Country
Action Level – 85 dBA Action Level(s) – 80 (4), 82 (2), 84 (1), 85 (1), Not Specified (6)
Protection Level – 90 dBA Protection Level – 85 (11), 87, 90 dBA
Exchange Rate – 5 dB Exchange Rate – 3 dB (11), 5 dB (3)

To reduce the incidence of NIHL Z1007 needed to target both the knowledgeable and uninformed Manager and in order to be effective needed to be referenced in regulation by the Jurisdictions in Canada. Long-term exposure to noise can result in both hearing loss and stress-related illness. In addition, noise can interfere with critical communications and warning signals.

The Scope of the Standard outlines the Elements of an HLPP from Education and Training to Record Keeping. Elements include:

  • Detecting the Noise Hazard
  • Controlling Noise Exposure
  • Hearing Protective Devices
  • Audiometry
  • Hazard Communication and
  • Monitoring Program Performance

Some things left unresolved and next steps are to start the revisions for the next version and to address:

  1. Is Hearing Acuity a Fit for Duty criteria?
    • If it is, how do you deal with hearing impairment created by the work environment
    • If it isn’t, how do you keep people safe?
  2. What is the Protocol for Persons with Hearing Aids
    • There isn’t a single protocol that can address this issue
  3. Transient, Temporary, and Short Term Workers need to be covered – How do we do that?
    • Is this the employer’s responsibility?
    • Is this the regulators responsibility?

“Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience. Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere.”…. Former U.S. Surgeon General William Stuart


LIVE PRESENTATION: The Role of Standards in Making Occupational Hearing Loss Prevention Programs Effective

April 9, 2016

The Role of Standards in Making Occupational Hearing Loss Prevention Programs Effective

The new CSA Z1007 Hearing Loss Prevention Program (HLPP) Management and Changes to CSA Z94.2 Hearing Protection Devices

The Role of Standards in Making Occupational Hearing Loss Prevention Programs Effective


Workers in many occupational sectors – including manufacturing, mining, construction, transportation, and emergency services – often perform their jobs while exposed to high levels of occupational noise.

Long-term exposure to noise can result in both hearing loss and stress-related illness. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) can be addressed with the implementation of a Hearing Loss Prevention Program (HLPP).

CSA Group has developed several standards that can help. This presentation will introduce the NEW Z1007 Hearing Loss Prevention Program Management – the first standard of its kind – which covers all aspects of creating and managing an organization’s HLPP, as well as review the important changes to the latest edition of Z94.2 Hearing Protection Devices. Your presenter, Jeffrey Goldberg is Chairman (formerly CEO) of Custom Protect Ear Inc. and the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the National Hearing Conservation Association, in addition to serving as Chair of the Technical Subcommittee that wrote Z1007. Jeffrey will explain the content in Z1007, the changes to CSA Z94.2, and the cross-content between the two.


Lakeside Industries wins National Award for Safety Innovation with the help of dB Blockers™

Lakeside Industries wins National Award for Safety Innovation with the help of dB Blockers™

dB Blocker ProtectEar USA, is excited to formally congratulate Lakeside industries Inc. for being awarded a National Award for Safety Innovation for their successful implementation of hearing safety initiatives in the workplace. The hearing technology that contributed to Lakesides hearing safety initiatives is Custom Protect Ears’ flagship product, dB Blockers™.

ProtectEar USA are the Exclusive Licensed Distributors of dB Blockers™ in the USA.  dB Blockers™ are known for their “Smart Hearing” technology especially where interpersonal communication is required. Lakeside employs a dedicated, quality control staff that is supported by more than a dozen in-house testing laboratories.

Cal Beyer, Director of Risk Management for Lakeside Industries Inc., states

We describe safety as a core value, rather than say ‘safety is our top priority”.

Read full AnnouncementdB Blockers