History of PPE: Hearing Protection

The use of hearing protection started out in the military to protect soldiers' hearing in the face of gun and canon fire.


Earplugs were introduced and patented in 1864 whereas canal caps which were attached to an adjustable headband were patented 20 years later in 1884. This hearing protection served as protection for soldiers and sailors. 


There was also an attempt at limiting gunfire noise with a mechanical device which led to the creation of Mallock-Armstrong plugs. This was used in World War One. Earplugs which were disposable were introduced in 1914 as well.


Continued development of earplugs for soldiers led to the creation of the V-51R in World War Two. When it came to protecting the hearing of military aircraft crews leather flaps were used over the ears.


Later the development of earmuffs was spurred on by the increased noise of jet engines. These earmuffs came with a strong headband so as to seal properly against the person’s head. The grip was however way too strong, caused headaches and was very uncomfortable to wear. 



This issue was solved when fluid-filled cushions were developed by Shaw in 1954.


Progress has continued and the same type of hearing protection started being used in the industrial sector as well. Comfortable foam plugs as we know it were developed in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s the progress continued to nonlinear electronic systems which were combined with muffs.

Today hearing protection systems still progress and there are many amazing hearing protection systems available today to the industrial industry



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