The Importance of Volume Limiting Headphones in the Workplace
Protect Workers’ Hearing Health and Ensure OSHA Compliance
Maintaining a safe and compliant workplace environment is crucial. An important aspect of this is protecting employees’ hearing health.
Volume limiting headphones can play a vital role in protecting the hearing of the millions of workers exposed to harmful noise levels.
Furthermore, they can help employers and employees stay in compliance with OSHA sound level guidelines.
How Do Volume Limiting Headphones Work?
Listening to music in headphones at too loud of a volume for too long exposes you to the risk of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
Volume limiters in headphones, also known as integrated “hearing safeguarding,” limit audio output to a specified level for safe listening.
Volume limiters work through the use of resistors, which create resistance in an electric circuit. Resistors are found either in the cable or headphone circuitry. They lower the flow of current from the source of the sound to the output, resulting in controlled sound levels.
Volume limiting headphones typically cap the maximum volume output at around 85 decibels (dB) or lower. This means that, even if someone tries to crank up the volume, it won’t exceed the preset limit.
Without a volume limiter, headphones can produce sounds of more than 115dB. That’s about as loud as a rock concert, which is unsafe for extended listening periods.
For all-day listening, a safe volume is 82dB. But even at that volume, you should give your ears regular breaks.
Why Use Volume Limiting Headphones in the Workplace?
Employers have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect their employees from the potential hazards of high noise levels.
Volume limiting headphones play a pivotal role in adhering to OSHA regulations by restricting sound levels to safe limits.
In a work environment, the potential for exposure to high noise levels is a common issue, which can lead to permanent hearing damage if not properly managed.
Volume limiting headphones limits the volume to OSHA-compliant levels, ensuring employees are protected from excessive noise.
Volume limiting headphones are critical because, while wearing headphones, it’s hard to tell whether you’re listening at a safe volume.
Headphones don’t sound as loud as speakers because, even with the same sound pressure reaching your eardrum, you miss physical and spacial cues like bass vibrations and distortion. Since it doesn’t sound as loud, most people naturally turn up the volume on headphones.
Furthermore, in noisy work environments, many workers like to listen to music loud to drown out the noise.
Volume limiting headphones prevent workers from listening to audio at unsafe levels. This also allows them to more easily be aware of loud sounds like reversing vehicles, or active machinery while still being protected.
OSHA Standards for Occupational Noise Exposure
OSHA standard 1910.95 outlines regulations related to occupational noise exposure. It stipulates that employers must supply hearing protection to employees when noise levels exceed an average of 85 dB over an eight-hour period.
Employers should prioritize administrative and engineering controls to reduce noise levels before resorting to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as earplugs and earmuffs.
In workplaces with employees exposed to loud noise, the establishment and implementation of a hearing conservation program, as per standard 1910.95(c), is crucial.
This program includes sound monitoring, notifying employees of monitoring results, and conducting audiometric testing. Audiometric testing involves baseline tests and annual tests to assess employees’ hearing health. It is essential to monitor employees’ hearing and make necessary adjustments to protect them effectively.
Volume limiting headphones can be critical tools in ensuring OSHA standards for noise exposure.
Who Should Wear Hearing Protection in the Workplace?
Any worker exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 dB on average over an eight-hour workday should wear hearing protection. This includes employees with existing hearing loss or impairment.
Unfortunately, factory, construction, and industrial environments are commonly noisier than that threshold. That means individuals that work in these environments risk receiving permanent hearing damage. There’s no question as to whether you should wear hearing protection while on the job.
Employers should offer a variety of hearing protection devices (HPDs) and allow employees to select the one that best suits their needs and comfort. Volume limiting headphones are among the best devices employees can use in noisy environments.
Employers should also provide annual training on the use and care of all HPDs. This training should cover the effects of noise on hearing, the advantages and disadvantages of different HPDs, care and use instructions, and the purpose of audiometric testing.
Plugfones: The Best Volume Limiting Headphones
Plugfones offers the best in volume limiting headphones.
Our built-in WorkSafe Volume Limiting is a unique, work-compliant technology that keeps Plugfones at a safe volume. This means you never have to worry about hearing damage, even after long days of using them constantly.
Plugfones volume limiting headphones limit the volume to an OSHA standard of 82dB. That makes them ideal for OSHA-controlled work environments.
Thanks to the noise-blocking earplug design of Plugfones, this volume level is perfect. A worker won’t have to worry about trying to compete with external noise to hear their music. The noise blocking keeps outside sounds out so they won’t have any need to turn the volume up.
One of the other advantages to our volume limiting headphones is that they make the environment safer for everyone. Employees are not able to increase their volume past 82db, so they retain awareness of the environment around them. This ensures they can enjoy their job while still being fully aware of potential dangers as they arise.
All of our volume limiting headphones are clearly marked with a red body color, which you can see between the tip and the cord. The highly-visible red color allows you to easily look for compliance standards quickly.
Noise Reduction Ratings
When you look at a product that is meant to protect your hearing, you will often be presented with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).
NRR is a measurement that is used to determine the effectiveness of hearing protection devices to decrease sound exposure in a specific environment. The rating is meant to help consumers decide between multiple hearing protection products to find the best one to protect them from hearing loss.
For workers who are in a noisy environment above 85 dB for 8+ hours per day, OSHA highly suggests that equipment to protect hearing be worn. Plugfones have an industry leading NRR rating of up to 29 dB.
To put this into context, a worker might be standing next to a jackhammer with a 93 dB noise level. Wearing a pair of Plugfones volume limiting headphones would help to bring that level down into the safe hearing range well below 85 dB.
Are Plugfones Volume Limiting Headphones Right For You?
Plugfones volume limiting headphones help to provide both safety and fun in hazardous work environments.
All Plugfones, including those with volume limiting capabilities, come complete with SoundSeal Technology. SoundSeal allows you to have a completely immersive listening experience while you work.
Different models come with different types of plugs including ComforTiered Foam Plugs and ComforTiered Silicone Plugs. These plugs are interchangeable as well, allowing you to switch between them according to your preference.
Plugfones volume limiting headphones come complete with tear-resistant TuffCords™ that are safe and durable. Wireless versions include Never Out 12-hour batteries to keep music going for the entire day or long work shifts.
Thanks to Plugfones volume limiting technology, you can easily stay safe on the job while listening to music or audiobooks.
Grab a pair of Volume limiting headphones from Plugfones and listen to some music, or your favorite podcast while you work. It will give you a pick-up throughout the day increase your enjoyment and work productivity!
With OSHA-compliant noise limitation, you never have to compromise your safety in the work environment ever again!