Styles of Hearing Protection

When workers are exposed to noise in excess of 85 dBA in an 8 hour workday, a company is required to have a hearing conservation program. One of the requirements of the employer is to SUPPLY hearing protection to the workers. By supplying one type of hearing protection, for example yellow foam plugs, the employer is not complying with the regulation. To meet the needs of the workers, 2 or 3 types should be made available to the workers.

Hearing protection is labeled according to how much sound is blocked out.

  • Class A – blocks the most, 33 dB to 26 dB
  • Class B – 17-25 dB
  • Class C – 12-16 dB


– worn over the ear, easy to put on can be class A, B or C


Can be Foam or plastic or Custom-made. All foam plugs are Class A and require daily disposal. They can come in different sizes and textures of foam. Most plastic plugs are Class A and re-usable. Custom plugs can be A, B or C Class.

Canal Caps

Banded plug with foam or rubber tips. Best for intermittent use. Can be Class A, B or C

Did you know that Hearing Protection is NOT one size fits all? Employers should consider individual needs and supply the hearing protection that a worker will wear for his/her entire shift.

Preference, comfort, the use of other personal protective equipment, and on the job communication needs should be considered when selecting hearing protection for workers.

Finally, please remember that questions and comments are always appreciated. If you do have a comment or question please send to


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