Don't Let Hearing Safety Fall on Deaf Ears | Howard Leight Ear Plugs

Howard Leight Ear Plugs should be worn on every jobsite where workers are constantly exposed to loud noises.



howard leight ear plugs and hearing safety


Did you know that occupational noise-induced hearing loss affects 48 million Americans, or 20% of the adult population? Can Howard Leight ear plugs really make a difference to protect your precious hearing?


On a jobsite, there are often many sources of loud noises including heavy machinery, power tools and other equipment. As a result, it is important to wear hearing protection to prevent permanent hearing damage.


What Are Howard Leight Ear Plugs and How Can They Help?

Howard Leight is a brand of hearing protection products by Honeywell. They utilize passive hearing technology for premium protection that reduces sound across all frequencies. Howard Leight specializes in a wide range of selections, including electronic muffs, earbuds, and even a few eyewear products. As you’ll find in this article, there are multiple reasons a worker might not wear their hearing protection.


Why do some workers not wear hearing protection?

  • Noise-induced hearing loss is generally a gradual, invisible, and painless process, so many workers don’t consider it a hazard – until it’s too late. Repeated exposure to loud sounds over time, like workplace machinery, has the potential to cause complete hearing loss. 
    • Very loud sounds (typically those louder than 85 dB), can be more common than people think. Hearing protection should be worn consistently whenever you are exposed to loud noises. Even short periods of exposure to loud noises can cause hearing damage over time.
  • The second reason hearing protection isn’t worn often enough is the discomfort and poor fit of the protection product. Many workers find ear plugs difficult to insert and keep in the ear, and many find earmuffs too bulky, tight, hot and uncomfortable. This issue demonstrates the importance of giving your workers a variety of choices of hearing protection and having a training program in place where they are taught about proper hearing protection use and fit.
  • When earplugs are inserted properly into the ear canal, it can sometimes be difficult for management to observe if their workers are even wearing the protection. In a work environment where only earplugs are offered, some workers simply don’t worry about getting caught and, worse yet, management does not have firm enough consequences for non-compliance with the hearing protection policy. Make it a point to emphasize to your workers that hearing protection guidelines are in place to protect their hearing health.


What is decibel exposure?

A decibel (dB) is the unit of measurement for indicating the level, or intensity, of sound. Sound intensity ranges on a numerical scale from 0 – 194 dB. The pain threshold for an adult begins at around 120dB. OSHA requires hearing protection for workers who are exposed to 85 dB and greater.


The table below gives some examples of everyday sounds and their dB levels:

  • Normal breathing = 10 dB
  • Soft whisper = 30 dB
  • Normal conversation = 60 dB
  • Washing machine or dishwasher = 70 dB
  • Gas-powered lawn mower or leaf blower = 85 dB
  • Motorcycle = 95 dB
  • Shouting in your ear = 110 dB
  • Thunder = 120 dB
  • Standing near a police/fire siren = 120 dB
  • Firecrackers = 150 db


What is a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?

NRR is a measure of the effectiveness of hearing protection in reducing the level of noise that reaches the ear. The NRR value is typically expressed in decibels (dB) and represents the maximum amount of noise reduction that can be achieved by the device in ideal laboratory conditions. The higher the NRR number, the greater the noise reduction.


To determine noise exposure, simply subtract the NRR of a hearing protection product from the actual decibel level.


For example, if the NRR of a particular earplug is 25 dB, and the noise level in the environment is 100 dB, wearing the earplug should reduce the noise level reaching the ear to 75 dB. However, in real-world conditions, the actual noise reduction achieved by the device may be lower due to factors such as imperfect fit or user error.


  • 100 dB noise level - 25 NRR earplugs = 75 dB noise exposure

Related: Whether you are out in the elements or working with heavy machinery, there are many ways to stay protected. Learn about how to choose your next hard hat.


What are the most popular styles of hearing protection that Wesco Safety has to offer?

Direct Safety® Safe Soundz™ Carillonz Disposable Earplugs

These disposable earplugs feature soft, slow-recovery foam for extreme comfort and outstanding noise reduction to protect your hearing. They are easy to roll down and insert, and they expand slowly for a low-pressure fit in virtually any size ear canal. They are available in corded and uncorded options and are conveniently packaged in individual poly bags to keep each pair clean.

  • Extremely soft bell-shaped foam plug
  • Offers versatility and a comfortable fit for a larger range of individual ear canals
  • Flange provides a more consistent fit
  • Available with or without a cord
  • Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 33 dB


Direct Safety® Safe Soundz™ Flangez Reusable Earplugs

These plugs' tapered design and sturdy stem allow for easy insertion and removal and a comfortable fit in the ear canal. Made from latex-free silicone rubber, the earplugs are non-irritating to the skin.

  • Four flanges for a safe, accurate, and comfortable seal
  • Reusable silicone rubber provides superior comfort and protection
  • Latex-free
  • Available with or without a cord
  • Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 27 dB


Howard Leight Quiet Disposable Ear plugs

These self-adjusting earplugs require no rolling or waiting and give you reusable life at a disposable price. These ear plugs contain built-in foam stems to make insertion easy. These ear plugs are available with or without a cord. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of these ear plugs is 26 dB.


Howard Leight Max Disposable Ear plugs

These pre-shaped foam earplugs achieve an NRR 33 rating - the highest rated earplug available. Smooth soil-resistant skin for comfort and hygiene. These ear plugs are tapered for easy insertion, flared for easy removal. Plugs are individually poly bagged.


Howard Leight Fusion Reusable Ear plugs

Howard Leight Fusion Earplugs feature a detachable cord and provide your employees with all-day comfort. FlexiFirm™ core allows for easy insertion into the ear and a superior fit. SoftFlange™ design adjusts to the ear canal to produce unmatched comfort and attenuation. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of these ear plugs is 27 dB.


Howard Leight® SmartFit™ Metal Detectable Ear plugs

Metal Detectable Plugs are always colored blue to stand out as a non-edible food color and can be detected by a metal detector when dropped into a food processing line. Howard Leight SmartFit Earplugs use advanced materials that respond to the body heat inside your ear. As the plug warms up, it takes on the shape of the surrounding ear canal - and it stays in that shape until you remove it. The ear plugs come with a carrying case that protects and stores them.


Feel free to contact our Safety Support Team to help you select the correct Direct Safety or Howard Leight Ear plugs for your particular workplace. In almost any situation you have, we can offer you options that best fit your budget or specific needs, allowing your employees to work comfortably and efficiently.



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