Hearing protection data

Finding even simple SNR or HML data on hearing protection can be a frustrating experience sometimes, and the more detailed APV data can be even harder to find. Some make SNR easy to find but hide APV away almost entirely out of sight. Some manufacturers give one sheet with APV for all their products, while others make the APV data available for a single product at a time meaning flicking between them to compare them which takes ages to track down and compare.

As this has frustrated me over the years I've finally got my act together and done some thing about it, pulling this data together into one single place making comparisons of hearing protection easy, and providing a simple data source to help people looking for a specific level of protection, by any of the SNR, HML or APV methods.

In the table below, you can use the wee arrow things to sort and filter as needed.

  1. Scrolling to the right will give you the notes on the products.

  2. Doing suitability calculations
    Your easiest route is to use the data above and go to Noisemeters.co.uk and their Resources page. There you can quickly do suitability calculations using SNR, HML or APV data.

  3. Music and musicians
    Firstly, don’t go by manufacturers saying ‘aimed at musicians’ as there are a lot peddling middling hearing protection and targeting musicians as a group who will spend money. Sort the list above by ‘HML Range’ and the lower the number the more evenly the protector reduces the noise levels at high mid-range and low frequencies, so will distort the music the least. Then look at SNR.

  4. Price
    This is the equivalent price when bought in commonly-sold units, so individual or in packs depending on the plugs. Prices are as they were available and priced on the day they were added to the list. Prices are ex-VAT where the manufacturer or supplier prices ex-VAT. These are provided as a rough guide so you know if you are looking at the region of a fiver for something or more like twenty-odd quid.

  5. Data source
    SNR, HML and APV performance data has been obtained direct from the manufacturer wherever possible but if it has not been available and I used another source this is noted in the 'data source' column. If HML or APV is blank, or set as zero, I couldn't find any data.

  6. ‘Avoid’ recommendations
    If HML is blank I would recommend you don't use them - there are enough companies making this data available (as they should) to bother giving your business to the ones who think just an SNR is enough.

  7. American vs EU/UK data
    Care has been taken not to use American data. (Particularly looking at you Honeywell Howard Leight, we don't all use NRR in the parts of the world which are not in Americaland, of which there are many. Finding UK/EU data for Honeywell products is a nightmare as the Howard Leight site constantly defaults to Yankee info). While I think of it, the 63Hz APV value is useful but not critical to hearing protection suitability assessments and some manufacturers do leave this figure off so if it's missing then that's why.

  8. Sperian / Howard Leight / Honeywell / Bilsom
    The Leight range of products go by a complete mess of names, using Sperian, Honeywell, Bilsom and Howard Leight at different times. Here in the UK the branding has been changed to 'Honeywell Howard Leight' or even just 'Honeywell' but for many retailers the old Howard Leight name is still used. I have tried to tread a line between them and use the name the product is most commonly known as in the UK when referencing the manufacturer - most of the time 'Leight' as that's the name most people know.

  9. Resusable / Disposable
    For foam plugs, sometimes the manufacturer specifies disposable or reusable and I've used that. For foam plugs where no specification is given I have classed it as disposable. If the manufacturer states limited reusability (such as 3M with the EAR Classic Corded where they state it can be reused three times) then I have classed that as disposable. For me, reusable means almost unlimited reuse until wear and tear requires replacement.

  10. All the data is owned by the manufacturers and gathered from what they have made publicly available. All the data is therefore in the public domain. However, this has taken a very long time to track it all down and collate and this presentation of it remains the property and copyright of The Noise Chap - no copying and pasting it all please.