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NHCA Recommendations to EPA on NRR Change Intend to Improve Utility of Hearing Protection Devices at Work and at Home
Date:12/7/2009

WESTMINSTER, Colo., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the recent announcement of the impending change to the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for hearing protection devices, the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) has provided its recommendations to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Based on expert member input and review, NHCA's recommendations are intended to improve the utility of hearing protection devices for occupational hearing conservation programs and for personal use.

"Noise-induced hearing loss is a progressive and permanent disease which has a pervasive impact on people's lives. While noise control efforts are the preferred way to reduce occupational and community noise exposures and prevent hearing loss, many Americans depend on earplugs and earmuffs to protect their hearing," said Rick Neitzel, PhD, CIH, NHCA President. "The current Noise Reduction Rating methodology is obsolete and needs to be updated to reflect a more real-world approach to hearing conservation. Also, the new NRR needs to account for the fact hearing protectors are used both in the workplace, where users should be trained on how to protect their hearing and how to wear protectors correctly, as well as recreationally, where users are likely to be less knowledgeable about how to best protect their hearing."

In its letter, posted at http://bit.ly/7qnVhq, NHCA asks for two major changes to the EPA's proposed legislation.

First, NHCA believes that the labeled values should be based on the ANSI S12.6-2008 Method B protocol, which accounts for hearing protectors fit by trained and naive hearing protection device (HPD) users alike.

"The EPA should also ensure that the de-rating of labeled values is eliminated from the new NRR scheme. Over the years, de-ratings have created a great deal of uncertainty and confusion that has diminished the e
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SOURCE National Hearing Conservation Association
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