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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 100  |  Page : 108--115

A simple, cost-effective, and novel method for determining the efficiency of industrial and commercial noise-canceling earmuffs

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Jaime E Mirowsky
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_52_19

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Context: There are several ways to assess the noise reducing efficiency of earmuffs, but they usually involve using human participants and/or specialized equipment. Objective: The current study was designed to develop a less labor-intensive, cost-effective, participant-free first-pass method for measuring the efficiency of earmuffs. Methods: We evaluated the noise-cancelling ability of five different types of earmuffs (3M: Optime 98, Optime 105; iDEA USA V201; Tronsmart Encore S6; Bose QuietComfort 35) under laboratory and field conditions. We compared our results to the microphone-in-real-ear (MIRE) method. Lastly, a survey of college-aged students was also conducted to determine which earmuffs were the most comfortable and provided the best fit. Results: Of the five earmuffs studied, the Optime 98 and Bose earmuffs were most effective at reducing noise levels in both the laboratory and field. These earmuffs also received the highest scores for comfort, fit, and perceived ability to reduce noise, with Bose being slightly more preferred than Optime 98. The MIRE method provided the same overall results as the laboratory and field tests. Conclusion: Our method for evaluating the noise-canceling ability of earmuffs could be used to supplement more complicated testing procedures as a first-pass method.


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