Understanding SNR Ratings
What are SNR Ratings or even NNR ratings? Not sure? We’re here to help. It’s important for consumers to be confident that hearing device manufacturers have followed the European legal requirements for aural products. Selecting the most appropriate protection for your specific needs is also vital. Determining the level of noise protection that your hearing protector provides is important to maintain your level of hearing. There are two main systems that have been developed to measure hearing protection; namely SNRs and NNR.
What are SNR Ratings?
SNR stands for Single Number Rating and is used to determine sound protection in hearing devices that have been correctly and specifically fitted for aural protection. Self-fitting techniques are used to estimate the sound volume at ear level. The International Standard ISO 4869 created this ranking system via tests implemented by commercial laboratories that are independent of manufacturers. The SNR system is more commonly used in the European Union.
What is NNR?
Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) are an important part of hearing protection. NRRs are provided so that consumers can understand how much aural protection they are getting and determine which products are appropriate for their particular needs. Manufacturers of hearing protectors provide NRR information based on noise tests from laboratories. The NRR system is the American system of measurement and ensures product reliability and safety.
How do SNR’s work?
SNR’s are measured in decibels (dB’s) and measure how much noise can be reduced by various hearing protection devices. The aim is to reduce sound at ear level to between 70 and 80 dB(A). Depending on the results, one is able to determine whether the aural protection is correct, under-protected or over-protected. Under-protection occurs when the ear volume level is above 80 dB9(A) as the protectors are not providing sufficient cover. Over-protection occurs when the ear level is below 70 dB(A). The right level of cover will ensure that hearing will be protected over longer periods of exposure. Is it also important that users can hear clearly (not too much protection) so that they can work efficiently in the work place.
CE Markings are a compulsory information mark that ensure that hearing protection products are certified and meet all the legal criteria that is needed in a European-produced noise protection device. The CE mark is used on products that were manufactured in the European Economic Area (EEA) or have been exported from Europe. When consumers see the CE mark, they are assured that the product meets the EC directives that are mandatory in Europe. CE stands for “Communaute Europeenne”, French for “European Community”.