A comparison of standardized methods for sound attenuation test of hearing protectors



In order to prevent hearing impairment due to occupational noise, it is essential to wear hearing protectors such as earplugs and earmuffs, especially in an extremely noisy environment. The method of measuring their sound attenuation is defined by international standards such as ISO and IEC, and standards such as ANSI, BS, AS/NZS, JIS et.. Although most standards recommend subjective methods where the thresholds of hearing shall be measured once with open ears and once with the hearing protector in place for each subject, measurement and evaluation methods are not unified internationally. In Japan, in April 2020, the old product standard was abolished in consideration of international consistency, and a new method standard was established with the ISO standard as the corresponding international standard for the first time in about 40 years. In this study, we compared the measurement methods and evaluation methods according to the standards for sound attenuation tests of hearing protectors.