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Hear for Life

Is your hearing protection fit for purpose? 

40 million workers are exposed to loud noise and 13 million suffer from hearing disorders despite industry regulations*. You can advance your hearing conservation programme with a customised and comprehensive approach to the hearing protection challenge. Implementing a solution that really makes a difference begins with understanding the hazards, the regulation and the factors that impact protection.

The facts 

The #1 Reported Occupational Health Issue: data from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work shows that noise induced hearing loss is the most commonly reported occupational medical condition in the EU.

One Third of European Employees Potentially at Risk: according to the EU OSHA one third of workers in Europe are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise.

The regulations 

The Physical Agents (Noise) Directive 2003/10/EC states that suitable hearing protection devices be made available at the Lower Exposure Action Value and information on the harmful effects of noise provided to the worker.

At Upper Exposure Action Value suitable hearing protectors must be worn in areas where there is risk of noise induced hearing damage and entry to such areas should be strictly controlled. In addition, hearing conservation programme be initiated which may include general health surveillance and audiometric checks. The Limit Value is the absolute ceiling limit that must not be exceed at any time and can be achieved by using appropriate hearing protectors.

What types of sounds require hearing protection? 

At home and work, it’s important to understand which sounds may cause hearing loss and require hearing protection:

The real world concerns of hearing protection 

Variable Noise Levels: Every environment is different and workers can face a wide range of sound levels throughout the day and in different areas at the same facility.

The Human Factor: Each person has a different shape, size and anatomy of the ear canal, so there is no one-size fits all hearing protection solution. The key to achieving optimal protection is having the best fit possible.

Employee Communication: Where there is an essential need for workers to communicate or hear warning sounds it is vital that their hearing is protected from hazardous noise levels.

Harmful noise is one of the top 3 health hazards in the workplace. Noise is now officially recognised as an irreversible health hazard in accordance with the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 and placed in the highest risk category as respiratory protection and fall protection, for example.

Implication of the change in categorisation

Your supplier of hearing protection products 

Manufacturers of hearing protection products are subject to more stringent on-going quality control procedures, including quality control of products or quality assurance for the entire manufacturing site.

Your users of hearing protection products 

Protection from harmful noise needs to be taken seriously, and using the right product and wearing it correctly is vital. The PPE Regulation recognises this and brings added confidence to users that the products they are wearing are stringently monitored for on-going compliance.

As a Safety Officer what should you be aware of? 

  • Ensure the hearing protection is fully compliant with appropriate standards and PPE Regulation
  • Training of workers in the correct selection of personal protective equipment is even more important since the change in categorisation of hearing protectors.

How do you decide what hearing protection you will offer to your workers? 

If you are simply using the SNR found on the hearing protection packaging as a guide you may not be providing accurate protection levels for every worker. Ears come in many shapes and sizes and to make sure all workers are getting the protection they need, you need to know their Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR).

What’s your PAR? 

Every employee is different. Every job is different. Every ear is different.

Finding each employee’s PAR will help you have assurance that workers’ hearing is protected and they are compliant with the law. That’s why we made the new 3M™ E-A-Rfit Dual-Ear Validation System fast, accurate and easy.

Fit testing is key 

Get results you can trust. The 3M™ E-A-Rfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System measures the effectiveness of the earplug or earmuff inside the employee’s ear providing accurate, quantitative results. Because you can simultaneously test both ears, you have more to focus on education including the importance of fit and protection.

Why 3M? 

As the leader in hearing protection, 3M offers a complete solution, with dual-ear and earmuff testing capabilities plus a user-friendly interface. The 3M™ E-A-Rfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System is the fast and easy way to find your employees’ PAR, because we know how important it is to make your hearing conservation program fit seamlessly into your operation.

Technology and support from the hearing protection experts

Employee education and training 

The 3M global hearing experts provide valuable on-site training and seminars throughout the world, helping employers and their workers achieve their hearing conservation goals. This training is conveniently performed on-site at no cost. Whether it’s explaining attenuation ratings or regulations, or providing the motivation workers need to comply, 3M Hearing Specialists are available to help you achieve your hearing conservation program objectives. They’re experts in hearing conservation training and will work with your team to help ensure your professional workers are protected with the right hearing protection equipment for their jobs.

Understanding Single Number Rating (SNR) 

A single number rating is the overall level of attenuation of the hearing protector across all test frequencies performed in a laboratory under ideal conditions. However, each hearing protector’s SNR may not be a good estimate for workplace noise reduction.

Many factors, such as the relationship between the size of the wearer's head and size of the wearer’s ear canal, and how it fits over the ears or inserted in the ear canal, can impact how effective that hearing protector will be. That’s why it is so important to have the 3M™ E-A-Rfit™ Validation System as part of your hearing conservation program and the support of a hearing protection team with over 40 years of expertise.

Innovation from the experts 

At 3M, we understand the challenges of the workplace, the complexities of fitting protection devices, and the importance of creating adaptable solutions for maximising hearing protection. Our innovations in noise detection, protection and validation are designed to solve real-world challenges, providing our customers with the advanced and comprehensive solutions needed to help protect workers.

The 3M team of application specialists, sound engineers, and support personnel provides an unmatched level of support you can rely on to advance your hearing protection program.

1 Fit 

Have the employee insert their hearing protection.

2 Test 

Connect to microphones and begin speaker test sound.

3 Assess 

Use PAR to customise hearing protector selection.

3M™ E-A-Rfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System 

Fit testing is key, so make sure you get results you can trust. The 3M™ E-A-Rfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System measures the effectiveness of the earplug from inside the ear, providing accurate quantitative results. And because you can simultaneously test both ears, you’ll have more time to educate employees on the importance of fit and compliance.


  • Dual-ear testing
  • Seamless software integration
  • Fast, clear accurate results
  • Science-based, quantitative testing
  • Earmuff testing capability
  • Compact design
  • Tests all 7 frequencies