Hearing protectors - Recommendations for selection, use, care and maintenance - Guidance document

This document gives recommendations for the selection, use, care and maintenance of hearing protectors.

Gehörschützer - Empfehlungen für Auswahl, Einsatz, Pflege und Instandhaltung - Leitfaden

Dieses Dokument gibt Empfehlungen für Auswahl, Einsatz, Pflege und Instandhaltung von Gehörschützern.

Protecteurs individuels contre le bruit - Recommandations relatives à la sélection, à l'utilisation, aux précautions d'emploi et à l'entretien - Document guide

Varovala sluha - Priporočila za izbiro, uporabo, nego in vzdrževanje - Navodilo

General Information

Status
Withdrawn
Publication Date
23-Nov-2004
Withdrawal Date
01-Mar-2016
Current Stage
9960 - Withdrawal effective - Withdrawal
Completion Date
02-Mar-2016

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SLOVENSKI STANDARD
SIST EN 458:2005
01-april-2005
1DGRPHãþD
SIST EN 458:1996
9DURYDODVOXKD3ULSRURþLOD]DL]ELURXSRUDERQHJRLQY]GUåHYDQMH1DYRGLOR
Hearing protectors - Recommendations for selection, use, care and maintenance -
Guidance document
Gehörschützer - Empfehlungen für Auswahl, Einsatz, Pflege und Instandhaltung -
Leitfaden

Protecteurs individuels contre le bruit - Recommandations relatives a la sélection, a

l'utilisation, aux précautions d'emploi et a l'entretien - Document guide
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: EN 458:2004
ICS:
13.340.20 Varovalna oprema za glavo Head protective equipment
SIST EN 458:2005 en

2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
EUROPEAN STANDARD
EN 458
NORME EUROPÉENNE
EUROPÄISCHE NORM
November 2004
ICS 13.340.20 Supersedes EN 458:1993
English version
Hearing protectors - Recommendations for selection, use, care
and maintenance - Guidance document

Protecteurs individuels contre le bruit - Recommandations Gehörschützer - Empfehlungen für Auswahl, Einsatz,

relatives à la sélection, à l'utilisation, aux précautions Pflege und Instandhaltung - Leitfaden

d'emploi et à l'entretien - Document guide
This European Standard was approved by CEN on 24 June 2004.

CEN members are bound to comply with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this European

Standard the status of a national standard without any alteration. Up-to-date lists and bibliographical references concerning such national

standards may be obtained on application to the Central Secretariat or to any CEN member.

This European Standard exists in three official versions (English, French, German). A version in any other language made by translation

under the responsibility of a CEN member into its own language and notified to the Central Secretariat has the same status as the official

versions.

CEN members are the national standards bodies of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,

Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia,

Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
EUROPEAN COMMITTEE FOR STANDARDIZATION
COMITÉ EUROPÉEN DE NORMALISATION
EUROPÄISCHES KOMITEE FÜR NORMUNG
Management Centre: rue de Stassart, 36 B-1050 Brussels

© 2004 CEN All rights of exploitation in any form and by any means reserved Ref. No. EN 458:2004: E

worldwide for CEN national Members.
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
EN 458:2004 (E)
Contents
page

Foreword............................................................................................................................................................. 4

1 Scope...................................................................................................................................................... 6

2 Normative references ........................................................................................................................... 6

3 Terms and definitions........................................................................................................................... 8

4 Types of hearing protector................................................................................................................... 9

4.1 General................................................................................................................................................... 9

4.2 Passive hearing protectors.................................................................................................................. 9

4.2.1 Ear-muffs ............................................................................................................................................... 9

4.2.2 Helmet mounted ear-muffs................................................................................................................... 9

4.2.3 Acoustic helmets .................................................................................................................................. 9

4.2.4 Ear-plugs................................................................................................................................................ 9

4.2.5 Preshaped ear-plugs............................................................................................................................. 9

4.2.6 Individual custom moulded ear-plugs ................................................................................................ 9

4.2.7 User formable ear-plugs..................................................................................................................... 10

4.2.8 Banded ear-plugs................................................................................................................................ 10

4.3 Function modes .................................................................................................................................. 10

4.3.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 10

4.3.2 Passive................................................................................................................................................. 10

4.3.3 Non passive ......................................................................................................................................... 10

4.3.4 Level-dependent hearing protectors................................................................................................. 10

4.3.5 Flat frequency response hearing protectors.................................................................................... 10

4.3.6 Active noise reduction (ANR) protectors .........................................................................................11

4.3.7 Hearing protectors with communication facilities .......................................................................... 11

5 Selection .............................................................................................................................................. 11

5.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 11

5.2 Conformity with relevant requirements for incorporated electronics........................................... 11

5.2.1 Intrinsic safety..................................................................................................................................... 11

5.2.2 Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) ............................................................................................... 11

5.3 Selection of appropriate hearing protection for the noise environment....................................... 11

5.3.1 Regulatory and general requirements .............................................................................................. 11

5.3.2 Selection of passive hearing protectors according to their sound attenuation........................... 12

5.3.3 Selection of hearing protectors according to special needs or requirements............................. 12

5.3.4 'Real world' attenuation...................................................................................................................... 13

5.3.5 Effects of over-protection .................................................................................................................. 13

5.3.6 Combination of ear-muffs and ear-plugs..........................................................................................13

5.4 Wearer comfort.................................................................................................................................... 13

5.5 Environment and activity ................................................................................................................... 13

5.5.1 High and low temperatures and/or humidity.................................................................................... 13

5.5.2 Unclean working conditions .............................................................................................................. 13

5.5.3 Repeated short term noise exposure................................................................................................ 14

5.5.4 Recognition of informative sounds within the work environment ................................................ 14

5.5.5 Warning signals and speech communication.................................................................................. 14

5.5.6 Location of a sound source ............................................................................................................... 14

5.6 Medical disorders................................................................................................................................ 14

5.7 Compatibility with other personal protective equipment ............................................................... 14

6 Use........................................................................................................................................................ 14

6.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 14

6.2 Period of use ....................................................................................................................................... 14

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EN 458:2004 (E)

6.3 Hearing protectors designed for use in particular orientations..................................................... 15

6.4 Availability of protectors.................................................................................................................... 15

6.5 Compatibility of other personal protective equipment with ear-muffs and banded

ear-plugs .............................................................................................................................................. 15

6.5.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 15

6.5.2 Protective clothing.............................................................................................................................. 16

6.5.3 Spectacles ........................................................................................................................................... 16

6.5.4 Goggles................................................................................................................................................ 16

6.5.5 Face shields......................................................................................................................................... 16

6.5.6 Hoods ................................................................................................................................................... 16

6.5.7 Safety helmets..................................................................................................................................... 16

6.5.8 Respiratory protection devices ......................................................................................................... 16

6.6 Correct fitting of hearing protectors ................................................................................................. 16

6.6.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 16

6.6.2 Ear-muffs ............................................................................................................................................. 16

6.6.3 Ear-plugs.............................................................................................................................................. 16

6.7 Audibility of speech and/or warning and alerting sounds whilst wearing hearing

protectors ............................................................................................................................................ 17

6.8 Leisure activities ................................................................................................................................. 17

6.9 Guidance for use................................................................................................................................. 17

6.9.1 Information .......................................................................................................................................... 17

7 Care and maintenance........................................................................................................................ 17

7.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 17

7.2 Hygiene and cleaning ......................................................................................................................... 18

7.3 Inspection and replacement .............................................................................................................. 18

7.4 Storage................................................................................................................................................. 18

7.5 Disposal ............................................................................................................................................... 18

Annex A (normative) Methods for assessing the sound attenuation of a passive hearing

protector regarding equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure level............................ 19

A.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 19

A.2 Octave band method........................................................................................................................... 22

A.3 HML method ........................................................................................................................................ 23

A.4 HML check method ............................................................................................................................. 24

A.5 SNR method......................................................................................................................................... 25

Annex B (informative) Method for assessing the sound attenuation of a hearing

protector for impulsive sounds ......................................................................................................... 27

B.1 General................................................................................................................................................. 27

B.2 Method.................................................................................................................................................. 27

Annex C (informative) Selection method for non-passive sound restoration level-

dependent ear-muffs and ear-plugs using HML data...................................................................... 30

C.1 Methods for predicting if the A-weighted L effective at the ear is less than 85

dB(A)..................................................................................................................................................... 30

C.2 Method 1: HML Method....................................................................................................................... 30

C.3 Method 2A: HML check method - Measurement check................................................................... 31

C.4 Method 2B: HML check method - Listening method ....................................................................... 31

Annex D (informative) Selection method for active noise reduction ear-muffs and ear-

plugs..................................................................................................................................................... 33

D.1 Method for continuous noises........................................................................................................... 33

Annex E (informative) Selection method for ear muffs with audio input................................................. 34

E.1 Method.................................................................................................................................................. 34

Annex ZA (informative) Relationship between this European Standard and the Essential

Requirements of EU Directive 89/686/EEC....................................................................................... 36

Bibliography ..................................................................................................................................................... 37

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EN 458:2004 (E)
Foreword

This document (EN 458:2004) has been prepared by Technical Committee CEN/TC 159 “Hearing

Protection”, the secretariat of which is held by SIS.
This document supersedesEN 458:1993.

This European Standard shall be given the status of a national standard, either by publication of an

identical text or by endorsement, at the latest by May 2005, and conflicting national standards shall be

withdrawn at the latest by May 2005.

This European Standard has been prepared under a mandate given to CEN and the European Free

Trade Association by the European Commission to support Essential Requirements of EU Directive

89/686/EEC.

For relationship with EU Directive(s), see informative Annex ZA, which is an integral part of this

document.

According to the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations, the national implement this European

Standard: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,

Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway,

Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
EN 458:2004 (E)
Introduction

Hearing protection devices are items of personal protective equipment (PPE) which, as a result of

their attenuating properties, reduce the harmful effects of noise on hearing in order to prevent hearing

damage. This document has been prepared to give guidance to all persons who have to supply,

purchase or wear hearing protectors. This document is intended to provide guidance on the correct

selection, use, care and maintenance of hearing protectors.

National bodies may produce their own interpretation of this document for additional national

regulations, custom and practice.

In order that the protection offered by hearing protectors be effectively realised, hearing protectors

should be worn at all times when the user is in a potentially hazardous noise environment. In the

selection of hearing protectors, therefore, attention is drawn to the importance of considering factors

which may influence comfort and acceptance.

In hearing conservation programmes, noise hazard areas are identified and the personal noise

exposure assessed. Priority should be given to reducing noise at source before a suitable hearing

protector is considered, as shown in Figure 1.
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EN 458:2004 (E)
1 Scope

This document gives recommendations for the selection, use, care and maintenance of hearing

protectors.
2 Normative references

The following referenced documents are indispensable for the application of this document. For dated

references, only the edition cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of the referenced

document (including any amendments) applies.
EN 352-1, Hearing protectors — General requirements — Part 1: Ear-muffs.
EN 352-2, Hearing protectors — General requirements — Part 2: Ear-plugs.

EN 352-3, Hearing protectors — General requirements — Part 3: Ear-muffs attached to an industrial

safety helmet.

EN ISO 4869-2:1995, Acoustics — Hearing protectors — Part 2: Estimation of effective A-weighted

sound pressure levels when hearing protectors are worn (ISO 4869-2:1994).
EN ISO 9921, Ergonomics — Assessment of speech communication (ISO 9921:2003)
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EN 458:2004 (E)

Figure 1  Actions to be taken to reduce an individual's risk of noise induced hearing loss

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EN 458:2004 (E)
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.
3.1
national action level (L )
act
daily noise exposure level (LEX,8h) above which hearing protectors are worn

NOTE: National laws or regulations will stipulate the level of noise exposure above which hearing protectors must

be worn
3.2
national peak action level (L )
act,pk
peak pressure level above which hearing protectors are worn

NOTE: National laws or regulations will stipulate the level of peak noise exposure above which hearing protectors

must be worn
3.3
care
day-to-day attention given to the protector by the wearer
3.4
effective attenuation

effective attenuation is the measure of protection afforded by the hearing protector

3.5
maintenance

regular inspection and repair of the protector, for example the replacement of defective ear-muff

cushions
3.6
over-protection

selection and wearing of a hearing protector with too high an attenuation. This may lead to a sense of

isolation and difficulties with perception of sounds
3.7
selection
process of choosing the most suitable protector
3.8
use
day-to-day wearing of a hearing protector by the person to be protected
3.9
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is worn or held by a

person at work and which protects them against one or more risks to his health and safety, and any

addition or accessory designed to meet that objective
3.10
impulse noise

sudden change of pressure that can consist of a unique single event or form either a series of

impulses with pauses between
3.11
sound attenuation

for a given test signal, the mean difference, in decibels, between the threshold of hearing with and

without the hearing protector in place for the test subject
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EN 458:2004 (E)
4 Types of hearing protector
4.1 General

Hearing protectors are available in many forms and the main types are described in the following

paragraphs. This list is not exhaustive.
4.2 Passive hearing protectors
4.2.1 Ear-muffs

Ear-muffs consist of cups which fit over the ears and are sealed to the head with soft cushions,

usually filled with plastic foam or liquid. The cups are usually lined with sound absorptive material.

They are connected by a tensioning band (headband), usually made of metal or plastic. A flexible

headstrap is sometimes fitted to each cup or to the headband close to the cups. This strap is used to

support the cups when the headband is worn behind the head or under the chin. Some ear-muffs

have one cup intended only for the left ear and another only for the right ear. Ear-muffs may be

available in 'normal' and 'restricted size range' types. ‘Medium’ size ear-muffs are intended to fit the

majority of head sizes found in the working population in Europe. 'Restricted size range' ear-muffs are

designed to fit particular head sizes; 'small size range' and 'large size range' ear-muffs may be

available.

Ear-muffs are available with headbands, neckbands, chinbands and universal bands. Ear-muffs with

neckbands and chinbands permit the simultaneous wearing of a safety helmet. Universal bands can

be worn over the head, behind the head or under the chin. Universal bands, neckbands and

chinbands may be complemented by headstraps to ensure a reliable fit of the muff.

4.2.2 Helmet mounted ear-muffs

These consist of individual cups attached to arms that are fixed to an industrial safety helmet. The

arms are adjustable so that the cups can be positioned over the ears.
4.2.3 Acoustic helmets

Acoustic helmets cover a large part of the head as well as the outer ear. They can provide additional

reduction of the transmission of air-borne sound to the skull thereby reducing bone conduction of the

sound to the inner ear.
4.2.4 Ear-plugs

Ear-plugs are hearing protectors which are inserted and worn in or which cover the ear canal, in order

to seal its entrance. They are sometimes provided with an interconnecting cord or headband. Ear-

plugs can be either disposable (intended for one fitting only) or reusable (intended for more than one

fitting).
4.2.5 Preshaped ear-plugs

Preshaped ear-plugs can readily be inserted into the ear canal without prior shaping. Preshaped ear-

plugs are usually made of glass down, silicone, rubber or plastics. They may be available in a range

of sizes.
4.2.6 Individual custom moulded ear-plugs

Custom moulded ear-plugs are individually moulded to fit the shape of the users ear canals.

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EN 458:2004 (E)
4.2.7 User formable ear-plugs

User formable ear-plugs are made from compressible materials that the wearer forms before inserting

them into the ear canal. After insertion, these ear-plugs expand and form a seal within the ear canal.

4.2.8 Banded ear-plugs

These are preshaped or user formable ear-plugs attached to a band which presses them into the ear-

canal or against the entrance to the ear-canal (semi-aural or semi-insert).
4.3 Function modes
4.3.1 General
It should be noted that some devices may have more than one function mode.
4.3.2 Passive

These devices may be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs that have the singular function or characteristic of

reducing noise by their design and type of material used, to absorb and/or reflect sound. Passive

devices have no added mechanisms.
4.3.3 Non passive

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs. Non passive devices are passive hearing

protectors with additional functions. They may incorporate mechanical or electronic components.

4.3.4 Level-dependent hearing protectors
4.3.4.1 General

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs. Level-dependent hearing protectors are designed

to provide different attenuation as the sound level changes. Their main purpose is to protect against

impulsive or intermittent hazardous noise whilst allowing communication during quiet periods.

4.3.4.2 Sound restoration level-dependent hearing protectors

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs. Sound restoration level-dependent hearing

protectors incorporate an electronic sound reproduction system. At low noise levels the sound

detected by an external microphone is relayed and amplified to a loudspeaker inside the muff cup, or

plug. As the external sound level increases, the electronics gradually reduce transmission of sound to

the inside of the hearing protector.
4.3.4.3 Passive level-dependent hearing protectors

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs. They normally incorporate an acoustic filter which

allows the transmission of low sound pressure levels but offers more attenuation to high sound

pressure levels. These types of hearing protector are designed to be effective against very high single

impulse noises, such as firearms, rather than the continuous noise or repetitive impulses found in

most industrial situations.
4.3.5 Flat frequency response hearing protectors

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs that, by their design, give a similar sound

attenuation across a wide frequency range thus assisting effective communications.

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EN 458:2004 (E)
4.3.6 Active noise reduction (ANR) protectors

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs. These are hearing protectors which incorporate

an electronic sound cancelling system to achieve additional noise attenuation. ANR is particularly

effective at low frequencies (50 Hz to 500 Hz) where passive hearing protectors can be less effective.

ANR protectors are usually based on a muff-type hearing protector.
4.3.7 Hearing protectors with communication facilities

These devices can be either ear-muffs or ear-plugs. These devices use a wired or aerial system

through which working signals, alarms, messages or entertainment programmes can be relayed.

Some products incorporate a system to limit the sound level.
5 Selection
5.1 General

As there are many different hearing protectors capable of dealing with a wide range of noise

environments, it is important to choose the most suitable type. All functions of a hearing protector

need to be considered in the selection process. When selecting a hearing protector, consideration

should be given to the factors listed below and outlined in the following sections:

 CE mark;
 sound attenuation requirement;
 wearer comfort;
 environment and activity;
 medical disorders;

 compatibility with other personal protective equipment (PPE), such as helmets, spectacles, etc.

The selection procedure should be repeated at regular intervals to ensure that an effective attenuation

is maintained.
5.2 Conformity with relevant requirements
...

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