PPE for Noise Control

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can play an important role in noise control in the workplace.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can play an important role in noise control in the workplace. Below are some types of PPE which can help reduce noise exposure. 

  1. Earplugs: These are inserted into the ear canal to block or reduce noise. Made of foam, silicone, or other materials, they come in various shapes and sizes. Earplugs are usually disposable and can provide effective noise reduction. 
  2. Earmuffs: These are protective devices that cover the entire outer ear and create a seal to reduce noise exposure. They usually have cushioned ear cups and an adjustable headband for a secure fit. Earmuffs can provide higher noise reduction compared to earplugs and are reusable. 
  3. Custom-Fit Hearing Protection: These protectors are individually moulded to fit the employee’s ears. This can provide a comfortable and effective solution for employees with specific hearing protection needs. 
  4. Communication Earmuffs: These are designed to protect against noise while also allowing for communication. They may have built-in microphones and speakers so that employees can maintain communication with each other or receive important auditory cues. 


Employers should provide proper training to employees on the correct use and maintenance of hearing protection devices. This includes how to properly insert earplugs, adjust earmuffs for a proper fit, and regularly clean and replace them as needed.  

Hearing protection should be used in conjunction with other noise control measures, such as engineering controls (e.g., sound barriers, mufflers) and administrative controls (e.g., limiting exposure time, job rotation) to effectively reduce noise exposure in the workplace.  

It is the employer’s responsibility to regularly review and assess the effectiveness of the selected PPE and noise control measures to ensure ongoing protection for employees. 

Using Hearing Protection effectively in the Workplace 


  • Ensure the protectors give sufficient protection in line with local regulatory requirements 
  • Select comfortable, hygienic protectors  
  • Consider how they will be worn with other protective equipment (e.g. hard hats, dust masks and eye protection) 
  • Include the need to wear hearing protection in your safety policy. Carry out spot checks to see that the rules are being followed; if not, follow your normal company disciplinary procedures 
  • Checks should be completed to ensure that hearing protection works effectively and remains in good, clean condition  
  • Ensure that compressible earplugs are soft and pliable 
  • Ensure that earmuff seals remain undamaged, and the tension of the headbands is not reduced 
  • Hearing protection must be stored correctly 
  • Personnel should be advised where to report damage to their hearing protection and how to obtain replacement or new protectors 
  • Ensure personnel are aware of how to avoid potential interference on the effectiveness of their hearing protection e.g., long hair, woolly hats, spectacles and earrings 



  • Don’t provide protectors which cut out too much noise – this can cause isolation, or lead to personnel unwillingness to wear them 
  • Don’t make the use of hearing protectors compulsory where the law doesn’t require it 
  • Don’t permit unofficial modifications  
  • Don’t permit unauthorised / unnecessary access to the hearing protection zones  
  • Don’t overlook the importance of setting a good example! 

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