Acoustic Protection Buying Guide

Noise levels and hearing protection, explained

Protecting your ears from long-term damage at work is vital. The ear can sustain damage at levels above 80dB, but it is also important to not restrict noise levels below 75dB when there is a risk of not being able to hear normal communications or warning alarms.

Once you have identified the noise levels that your staff are exposed to, the purpose of ear protection is to reduce the gap between ambient workplace noise levels that are above 80dB and bring them down to a safe level. Spectacle frames and hair between the ear pad and the head may affect the performance of the ear defender. The fitting of hygiene covers to the cushions may affect the acoustic performance of the ear defender.

When not in use or during transportation, ear protection unless disposable should be stored in a container that it is kept out of direct sunlight, away from chemicals and abrasive substances. Clean with warm soapy water. Solvent or abrasive cleaner should not be used.

When hearing protection should be issued to employees:

• Where extra protection is needed above what has been achieved using noise control.

• As a short-term measure while other methods of controlling noise are being developed.

You should not use hearing protection as an alternative to controlling noise by technical and organisational means.

SNR rating

What is the SNR rating for ear plugs?

The degree of protection offered by each product in our range is shown by the SNR (Single Number Rating) reference - so the higher the rating, the higher the level of protection. For instance, working with a chainsaw is around 100 - 110dB; to bring this down to a safe level, you would need to provide ear defenders that offer an SNR rating of around 26dB.

For further guidance regarding the suitability of decibel level for ear protection, please visit

• Ear defenders - Sometimes known as ear muffs, ear defenders protect the wearer from extreme noises.

 These are cups lined with a sound deadening material, usually acoustic foam - this absorbs sound waves by increasing air resistance, reducing the amplitude of the waves and giving protection from ambient noise.

• Ear plugs - A device that is inserted into the ear canal to protect the wearer’s ears from loud noises or intrusion of water, foreign bodies, and excessive dust or wind. Well fitting earplugs

 These can be self-adjusting, allowing the ear plugs to mould themselves to the wearer. They also come in a variety of materials for comfort and levels of protection.

We offer a range of ear protection made to industry safety standards.

Types of ear protection includes:

• Corded ear plugs

• Banded ear plugs

• Ear defenders

• Ear muffs

• Dispensers

Decibel Comparison Chart

This decibel chart provides some examples of the level of noise you may experience at work or in your working environment.


Busy Street

Telephone Dial Tone

Busy City Traffic

Jack Hammer


Jet Plane
At 150m

Human Threshold Of Pain


Alexandra has a range of ppe ear plugs and ear defenders offering your ears noise protection. Browse our range or enquire with our team as to what we can source. From silicone ear plugs to a built-in hard had with ear protection or a safety helmet with visor and ear defenders, we can recommend what is best for you, given your role or environment.

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