Noise can be very harmful for our health: there is awareness that it does not only lead to hearing damage but can also cause other unwanted, and long lasting, negative effects (psychological and social problems, fatigue, cardiovascular problems…). Unwanted noise is not only a risk in the work environment, but also in other aspects of our lives, such as music concerts and hobbies, even at levels where no direct hearing damage can be expected.
For this reason, the European market for safe hearing protection is growing, and both consumers and professional users are asking for quality and safe materials. Hearing protectors have come to the crossroads of different fields of new technologies, and new demands and possibilities are now available. With new features and functionality there is also a renewed need for relevant requirements and testing.
The risks and effects of unwanted noise and the evolutions in the market have led to the upgrade of the health and safety requirements to Category III in the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 for safe hearing protectors. This Regulation has been adopted in order to establish health and safety requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) in all Member States and to remove obstacles to trade in PPE between Member States.
In order to meet these new requirements, CEN/TC 159 ‘Hearing protection’ recently developed a series of new standards that provide a high level of safety for hearing protectors including conformity assessment methods for the integration of electronic communication facilities. These standards are grouped under two series:
The new standards make the integration of smarter electronics and the use of new communication technologies and protocols safer. In particular, they provide a high level of safety for hearing protectors by providing conformity assessment used by manufacturers, other economic operators, or conformity assessment bodies to demonstrate that products comply with relevant EU legislation.
For more information, please contact Jennifer OGBONNA.