a hand holding a pair of ear plugs in a box

Hearing Loss From Data Centers

Hearing loss from data centers is an issue for all its employees. I can tell you from experience the repetitive, loud noises from servers, network devices, and cooling equipment can cause hearing loss if one doesn’t use any protection. And, frankly, I do have hearing loss from my work. Yet, listening to loud music didn’t help either. Let’s discuss a few ways workers can protect this important sense.

Protect From Hearing Loss From Data Centers By Using Ear Plugs

The first way to protect against hearing loss from data centers is to use ear plugs. Now these are an inexpensive yet good choice for employees. They are easy to insert and remove. And ear plugs comes in all shapes and material types. Silicone ear plugs are great for those who want to mold the plugs to fit their ears. And these have a decent Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22 decibels.

According to Listen Technologies “Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is a measure of the effectiveness of a hearing protection device to reduce noise levels. Higher values indicate greater noise reduction. NRR values range up to approximately 30 dB.”

A cheaper ear plug option are foam and usually have a higher NRR than the silicone version. The ones I found on Walgreens had a NRR of 32 decibels. That’s because these foam ear plugs insert deeper into the ear than the silicone which only creates a seal on the outside of the ear.

I use ear plugs on occasion but they are not my first choice. Because I hate having to remove them after getting a great seal. Plus, the costs can add up if one doesn’t invest in reusable ear plugs.

Protect From Hearing Loss From Data Centers By Using Earmuffs

A slightly more expensive way to protect against hearing loss from data center is using earmuffs. These look just like headphones as cushioned cups cover each ear snugly, blocking out noise. Checking various retailers I found earmuffs ranging in price from $15 USD to over $40 USD. Yet, their NRR are pretty good, even rivaling the ear plugs. I found earmuffs with NRR ranging from the high 20 decibels to the low 30s decibels.

I used the earmuffs more during my career and I prefer them over the ear plugs. Because I don’t have to worry about getting a good seal. And I can easily remove them if I want to and then easily put them on.

You Can Purchase Hearing Protection And Listen To Music Or Take Phone Calls

If you want to listen to music or make phone calls on the data center floor and protect your hearing there are many Bluetooth models available to purchase. These are more expensive than the other types in this article. Yet, these devices still offer a NRR in the mid-20 decibels.

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