Less overall comfort of insert earplugs is associated with an increase in attenuation.

Noise-induced hearing loss is almost always preventable if properly fitted hearing protectors are worn to reduce exposure. Many individuals choose not to wear hearing protection because it may interfere with effective communication in the workplace or it may be uncomfortable. Hearing protector comfort has not received the same amount of attention as noise reduction capability. The present study was conducted to evaluate the comfort level of two different types of insert earplugs as well as the attenuation levels achieved by the earplugs. Attenuation levels were obtained with a commercially available earplug fit-test system, and the comfort ratings were obtained by questionnaire. The primary research objective was to determine whether hearing protector comfort was related to measured attenuation values. A linear mixed effects model provided evidence for an inverse relationship between comfort and attenuation. A standardized, valid, reliable, and easy-to-use multi-dimensional comfort assessment tool such as the one used in this study would benefit the hearing conservation community.

Source: Relationship between comfort and attenuation measurements for two types of earplugs. David C Byrne et al. , Noise Health 2011;13:86-92.

http://www.noiseandhealth.org/text.asp?2011/13/51/86/77193

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