The effectiveness of hearing protection devices (HPDs) and problems associated with HPD usage have been investigated to‐date at over 100 plant sites covering a seven state area. The primary objectives of the study are to identify HPD usage related problems and to develop solutions for the problems defined. The findings have not identified any consistent significant problems. The most common types of problems identified, in order of descending importance, were: discomfort, HPD design limitations, canal irritation, infection, and problems related to HPD fitting, storage and maintenance. In addition, the effectiveness of HPDs in preventing on‐the‐job temporary threshold shifts has been established to be significantly less than would be predicted using laboratory generated attenuation data. Based on these findings it is concluded that the identified HPD usage related problems can be handled by implementing effective educational programs and administrative procedures.

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