The problems of protecting the ear against hazardous noise are the subject of a general review, supported where relevant by data from the authors' own researches. Ear protectors are classified into two main types−plugs and muffs—and the general principles of their function and limitations are stated. Examples of representative ear protectors are given in more detail, with particular respect to their relative merits and pure-tone attenuation characteristics. The effects of earplugs on speech communication are considered and the relationships between pure-tone attenuation and protection against continuous noise are discussed in some detail. The results of temporary threshold shift (T.T.S.) reduction studies of the efficiency of V.51R and Selectone-K earplugs in protecting against reverberant and non-reverberant impulsive noises are presented. The design requirements of ear protectors and some of the problems created by them are also outlined.
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