OSHA Approved Hearing Aids - Loud areas

I’ll place this question here because it looks like there is not a place for OSHA related question.

A little history about me and what’s going on: I wear right side hearing aid and cochlear implant on the left. I work in manufacturing and some places in the building are noisy and the other are not. I am working in my promoted department and it’s in a more noisy area compared to the other building. However, OSHA went ahead and started to enforce everyone to wear ear plugs/ear muffs in the said area. Since I can’t wear ear muff due to ear sensitivity and with that making too much feedback noise on the HA and muting out the cochlear implant, I was left out of my dept for 2 weeks until a solution came up and that was just wearing ear plugs and leave the cochlear implant on.

Even though I hate the silence and the increased difficulty of hearing things at work and my work performance had went down the slope and I’ve been on a roller coaster ever since, I’m trying to go around and ask this question:

What makes OSHA to recognize hearing aids as approved by OSHA? How can we do that?

I went to audiologists, since the other piece of missing info was that I needed to provide Noise Reduction Rating of at least 27% for both ears. However, OSHA never supplied any information of how to do that, including never supplied how to test for that in HA.

I’m sure there are other people out there like me that still want to work in manufacturing, some job provide great pay and such! I’ve already recommended noise reduction heat treated fabrication that wrap around the machine to reduce noise, but none of us really know how long that will take. Including I’m not in the full discussion to find out what is out there that can reduce the loud noises from the machine overall so the people don’t have to wear ear plugs and ear muffs so we all can rejoice!

But back on this serious one: What makes OSHA to recognize hearing aids as approved by OSHA in louder environment? What can we suggest, and how can we make the suggestion?

This can also be used for road work machinery and other such jobs.

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Welcome to the forum.
If you are wearing a mold rather than domes, the mold is probably better than most osha approved ear plugs. I wore soft silicone molds for a while that had 1mm vents. I could mute these Phonak aids and it was absolutely quiet at that point.
I also wear processors, around noise they do dampen loud sounds. If yours doesn’t decrease noise enough maybe your audiologist could make you a work program for your processor.

Between a good mold for your aid and a work program for your processor you should be able to continue work.

My background is petrochemical, hence the reason for hearing loss. I am familiar with osha and hearing protection.

Good luck with this.

You might want to contact @efigalaxie by PM and get advice from him (or mention him as I just did in this post). He used to work in a steel mill where it was probably impossible to hear directly over any distance because of the noise and he used a series of Remote Microphones (ReSound Multi-Mic, Phonaxk Roger devices, etc ). I seem to recall that he also employed a walkie-talkie-like device that interfaced into his HA’s although I may be wrong on that.

I wear very occlusive silicone ear molds (NO vent) and I would estimate that they do no better at blocking low frequencies than reduce my hearing by about 10 to 15 dB.*** So to protect yourself in a very noisy environment, you do need something that covers your ears (in my ignorant opinion). The iPhone, in transmitted streamed sound, does have a hearing safety limit - I’ve set mine to 75 dB and also trust my limits on HA amplification set sound limits on what gets to my ear drums - but I’m out of any recent familiarity with HA function (too busy learning about Virtual Reality in Microsoft Flight Simulator with an HP Reverb G2 headset!).

*** One reason for this estimate is that I own a John Deere riding mower to cut the grass on my ~3/4 acre lot. It’s of 1990 vintage and PAINFULLY LOUD without ear protection. Just turning off my HA’s does not adequately protect me against this sound, which I would guesstimate exceeds 110 dB (now that Spring is ~here, I’ll measure it with smartphone next time I’m out on it). Putting out ear muffs that are rated at 30 dB protection over the turned off HA’s reduces the sound to somewhere around the tolerably loud range. Before HA’s, I used to stuff foam plugs in each ear canal before donning the ear muffs. One thing about silicone ear molds, there’s always a bit of potential for sound leakage between your ear canal and the surface of the mold depending on how wax-filled your ears are, how carefully and precisely you insert them, etc.

Some @efigalaxie posts for starters (I just searched on “@efigalaxie radio” without the quotes). He streamed ~12 per day at work, more if compensating for vacation or sick time.

Trying something other than “radio” in the search for efigalaxie posts might yield a whole other spectrum of results, e.g., use “steel” instead. A post that turned up with the “steel” keyword:

I think one thing to keep in mind when you mute your HA’s. You are turning off whatever amplification your HA’s provided, too. So the quietness may be actually mostly derived from turning your HA’s off, not the molds if you have severe to profound hearing loss at the frequencies the noise is occurring at.

I have good low frequency hearing (~5 to 10 dB threshold at 250 Hz) but ~severe loss at 6K to 8K Hz (65 to 70 dB threshold). If I run a pure tone generator, with my HA’s off and occlusive silicone molds, I can still hear a mid-level volume of a tone at 250 Hz pretty well through my molds but I hear nothing for the same tone amplification level if I go to 6K or 8K Hz. High frequency sound is more readily blocked by most materials but most of the “blockage” that I observe is simply occurring at high frequency because I have turned my hearing aid amplification off.

Maybe an audiologist can correct me on this, but I think the theory of protection would be that even when you can’t hear a sound very well because of hearing loss, you still need protection from it if it exceeds allowable safety limits because the loud sound can further damage the remaining hearing you do have.

Not quite what the OP is asking.
Not sure if there are any OSHA approved hearing aids.

From working in environments that do require hearing protection and like you using tools around the house that are absolutely loud I do understand.

I believe the OP will need to talk to his employer and audiologist to work something out. Having a hearing aid and a CI processor is for sure a challenge.

To add a little data about soft silicone, Starkey has done the research.

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I think the OP in asking the question should be prepared to get an answer that solves the problem, which might not necessarily be the answer he/she wants. That’s why I suggested an ear muff-like protection as that would seem to offer the best combination of allowing the OP to use hearing devices to some extent and block noise at the same time. The best hearing protection devices are noise-cancelling headphones that combine both ACTIVE and PASSIVE noise cancellation. Hearing other human voices in the workplace could be accomplished with radios or remote microphones and with the right headphones, it might be a solution that would allow more efficient, productive communication between normal hearing persons as well in a very noisy work environment. Obviously, reducing machine noise would be the best possible solution, if achievable.

But unfortunately, the OP has already defined the likely best possible solution for hearing protection out of existence by saying that ear muffs/headphones cannot be worn because of “ear sensitivity.”

Another thing is the OP might get a better answer by providing more details. What is a “27% reduction” in noise level? And what is the average noise level and the frequency spectrum? There are smartphone apps that do a decent shot of capturing a snapshot of a sound spectrum by relying on the factory-specifications of the device (kinda like relying on HA performance without doing REM calibration). If the OP provided the dB noise level and a spectrum, anyone reading this thread would have a better idea of what’s involved. Otherwise, a solution for a not-very-well-defined problem is being requested.

The Starkey reference you link to, Raudrive, seems to be mainly about earplugs. That wouldn’t be an “OSHA hearing aid,” either. The Starkey earplugs in general, show what I pointed out in a previous post. Without special filters, low frequency is generally relatively poorly blocked. High frequencies are much better blocked. I think if one tries to go with a HA that has a silicone mold, you have the additional problem with a silicone mold that you have a good portion of the mold that is hollowed out for the better sound-conducting metal receiver or the hollow BTE tube. So, by definition, a hearing aid is not a solid ear plug and will probably be much less effectual than the link you came up with on Starkey ear plugs, which is not what the OP was asking for, either.

It’s hard, too, to escape the previous point that I made that as soon as you turned off your HA’s, you gained an additional 30 to 120 db of silence depending on the frequency spectrum of the sound environment that you were in, based on your audiogram, when you observed things became very silent when you turned off your HA’s. The Starkey reference shows that some ear plugs can offer as little as 5 dB of sound protection at 125 Hz - illustrating the dangers of going with averages across a sound spectrum and showing that the best solutions address the specific frequency spectrum of the noise to be dealt with and use materials and methods capable of handling the relative degree of loudness across that problematic frequency spectrum. So the OP should really go hunting for a solution armed with the frequency spectrum information. Or if the “answer” is provided by others in his workplace, satisfy himself that those concerns have been addressed.

Some Starkey ear plugs as referenced by Raudrive might be close or better in noise-blocking but the noise-cancellation crown for headphones has passed to Apple Airpods Max from the Bose 700’s (the Airpod Max’s ARE headphones, not earbuds, in spite of the name). The advantage of headphones is that hearing aids might still work underneath and sound from other people/sources could be streamed either to the headphones or the hearing aids and shielded from environmental noise.

The following graph is from a Sound Guys article reviewing the $549 Airpods Max in detail (~20 hr battery runtime). “Isolation” is passive noise-cancellation - not very good in the very low frequencies. ANC is with active noise-cancellation turned on but I believe by the nature of the measurement (microphone inside the headphone on a mannequin?) must also include the passive noise cancellation component - so the turquoise line is actually showing total noise blocking with ANC turned on, IMHO).

There might be cheaper competitive earbuds but unless they had fantastic equalizer function, they wouldn’t substitute for the HA’s, which could be worn under the headphones.

Apple Airpods Max Passive and Active (Total) Noise Cancellation (click on graph to zoom it larger)

Source: Apple AirPods Max vs. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 - SoundGuys

Hi all, thanks for posting replies and I’ll be following up! I tend to be slow but don’t feel like I give up on you all.

@Raudrive I do have ear mold with my HA. The ear mold I have is like one of these - link.

However due to what I was told by the safety guy at work, they claimed that with HA and ear mold the sound will pass through and still cause hearing damage. I don’t think that’s right, myself but however I’ll point out something like if I’m several feet away from the machines I’m running from, I can’t tell if they are running or not so I have to keep looking at it just to be sure they are still running. Now that I’m without the HA, I don’t ear much at all of them.

Another thing that they mentioned was the area that I’m working in is like 84.5 or near 85 dBA, and working in that area for 12 hours even though I have three 15 mins breaks, one of the 30 min lunch, so I’m not always exposed to that area when I leave out of it, I’m still required.

These are the ear plug that we’re required to wear as work provide them: Honeywell Laser Lites

Even though since I don’t hear everything from a machine when I’m away, they don’t want to get fined by OSHA just for wearing a HA and a particular ear mold somehow because they keep telling me it’s unacceptable for what I have, and strictly tell me to wear earplug/earmuff. I don’t think they and OSHA is aware of such, that’s why I’m here.

@jim_lewis I’ll be sure to send efigalaxie a PM, more likely in reference to this post. I’d also want to answer any question if possible so his questions would possibly be answered here. I’ll also check out his posts too.

And yes, OSHA still want hearing protection regardless of how much hard of hearing I am. They will not allow anyone to sign a wavier to reduce the need of equipment and increased difficulty of hearing. I’ll explain what’s difficult when wearing the ear plugs: I’m not able to hear conversations very well with just my CI alone, and not able to hear well of the machines from the CI too. At least with the CI I can hear forklift beeps and other safety warning beeps, but when it comes to performance wise I’m not able to go up to par. [I’ve been having hearing loss since I was a kid, so the loss was already there before I started working at this manufacturing job which was 1 year ago.]

@Raudrive If I’m not clear, I’m sorry. I’m trying my best. While I do wear a CI and HA on a regular basic, OSHA/Work will not let me wear both at work in certain of area in the building due to loud noise for a 12 hour job. I’ve already talked with Work and Audiologist about finding a solution, Work was trying to give me just the earmuff and I can’t work with that. The Audiologist told me to wear the ear plugs and just the CI and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m having difficulty performing well at work with just that because a lot of things are sound-dependent especially in communications and only like 2 people I know of can do sign language, and no one else write things down for me to read and respond back.

I’ll take a look at the PDF file, this one is new to me. [Edit: Actually, I saw Jim mentioning that it doesn’t block all sounds especially high frequencies…]

So for the OSHA Approved HA’s, somehow the words are getting around between work and my audiologist saying OSHA do not approve how HA operate and deny them like they do not protect the hearing. I’m wanting to find ways to have HA available that works with OSHA standards, which OSHA do not provide already because there are none it seem.

@jim_lewis I can’t wear headphones because my ears are really sensitive. For example, I have a very lightweight headphone at home for use, and I can’t use it for any longer than 1 hour without it hurting my ear. I’ve tried many different kinds of headphones through amazon and other places and I never found one that works for me. The earmuff work was trying to provide for me not only fit just the ear, but it sit on top of the HA and CI so it’ll squeeze those onto my head making me sore. With that muting the CI, I can’t hear anything that I need to hear in relation to safety. The HA will just squeal the feedback nonstop. It’s worse than just wearing the earplug with CI and no HA. So even if the headphone stream sound directly to my ear, I don’t think it’s much different than wearing a earplug in my left ear since that ear is housed by my CI and HA on my right even if my HA is set up correctly to fit OSHA’s sound reduction.

When I asked audiologists about the 27% NRR for the HA, they told me they cannot provide it because OSHA did not tell them how. So with the app on the phone that you mentioned, how can we tell if OSHA will approve that?

Regarding the Starkley’s ear mold, I think someone mentioned that to me on a facebook group but I didn’t get the link to the page. I was wondering if the such earplug type of earmold that can be OSHA approved to use? Like the sound tube that go into the earplug, so the HA is delivering the limited sound just toward the ear.

Meanwhile my HA is old school, it doesn’t have bluetooth. I’m in the process of getting a new Phonax HA too.

But I still have the question just looming around. Why does OSHA not provide info of how HA can have noise reduction approval? Is there something limited in phone app that compare the volume differences? Why does turning down the volume of my HA isn’t acceptable to OSHA?


This is a 2014 letter from OSHA to a representative of an employer. It clearly states that with the proper documentation, a hearing aid (of some type) may qualify as a noise reduction device to bring sound to acceptable levels. I am extensively quoting the relevant part below:

Background: You describe a situation where an employee with a congenital hearing loss works in an environment with noise levels measured between 85 and 93 decibels A-weighted (dBA). The employee in question utilizes a full insertion, programmable hearing aid that limits noise passing through the device at or below 85 dBA. You report that in the ten years employed, the individual has had no discernable standard threshold shift (STS).

Question: If the hearing aid manufacturer can produce documentation of a noise reduction rating (NRR) for a programmable hearing aid, would OSHA consider that device as an adequate hearing protector under 29 CFR 1910.95?

Response: Yes, an assigned NRR is a manufacturer’s rating of the device’s effectiveness to attenuate noise. As you are likely aware, the adequacy of hearing protection is determined by the effectiveness in attenuating or reducing noise that reaches the inner ear. This measure of effectiveness is called the NRR. The NRR is a laboratory-derived numerical estimate of attenuation that is provided by the hearing protector. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires manufacturers of hearing protection devices to identify the noise reduction capability of all hearing protectors sold in the United States, and to present the NRR on the package label of the device1 . We are aware that some manufacturers of hearing aids have also designed hearing protection into their devices with an assigned NRR.

To evaluate the adequacy of any hearing protector’s attenuation, the employer must refer to the mandatory Appendix B to 29 CFR 1910.95, as required in paragraph 1910.95(j)(1). The NRR of the hearing protector is compared to an individual worker’s noise environment to determine whether the exposure is attenuated to the level required by the OSHA standard. For employees with no STS, the hearing protector must attenuate noise exposure to an 8-hour time-weighted average of at least 90 dBA, as required in paragraph 1910.95(j)(2). For employees who have experienced an STS, the hearing protector must attenuate exposure to 85 dBA or below, as per paragraph 1910.95(j)(3).

Source: Occupational Noise Exposure - The use of hearing aids as hearing protection devices. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

So I would think that such hearing aids must be very occlusive hearing aids, perhaps custom-in-the-canal (CIC) with no vent, etc., no metal receiver body running the length of a mold to conduct sound, etc.

There is something strange about your sound situation. Since you cited “27% reduction” required, I thought, “Geez! Must be at 110 dB having to get down to 85 dB allowed for 8-hour exposure!” But you’re already at ~85 dB but work a 12-hour shift. The way these things work (my ignorance showing here), is there is a trade-off between time and loudness allowed. For OSHA in industrial settings, I believe the loudness step is 3 dBA. If the noise level increases 3 dBA above 85 dB exposure, you have to halve the exposure time.*** If you decrease the exposure 3 dBA below 85 dB to 82 dB, you can double the exposure time - you could work 16 hours a day at 82 dB exposure, in my limited understanding. Things get more complicated if the noise is not ~constant all day long. If some part of a shift, the noise shoots way up, that’s going to cut way down on the time allowed. You have to use a time-weighted average but I’ll skip the details for now.

Basically, the above means if you are pretty much at 85 dB your whole shift, you only need a very modest amount of noise reduction to get down to 82 dB or so. You shouldn’t need 30 or 40 dB of protection (although it might be better for preserving your remaining hearing long term).

As far as comfort of ear muffs or headphones, have you looked into headphone wraps? These are cushions that go on the headband connecting the two ear cups and lessen the pressure of the headband on your skull. I am not recommending Microsoft Surface Headphones but I have a pair of those and they are very comfortable to wear for hours-the cup material is very squishy (silicone in-fill??) and the cups fit snug but deform to reduce pressure-the headband is adjustable, too. So perhaps finding a comfortable ear muff or headphone is just a matter of finding one that is as adjustable as possible, doesn’t CLAMP your head, and wearing a headband wrap also, if needed.

But if the OSHA opinion in the letter that I cited still stands, perhaps your problem can be solved just by getting or documenting the appropriate NRR for your HA. I would think with the type of calibrated microphone used in REM, that an audiologist could actually document the noise level that is reaching your ear drum in a suitable test set-up if OSHA would let your employers know exactly what needs to be documented.

Hope some of my blather helps. Hope others like Raudrive will continue to chip in with their expert advice. Maybe your audiologist or hearing care provider should contact Phonak or the manufacturer of whatever new hearing aid you might want to get to see if the particular model you’ve chosen has been tested for a NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). Perhaps if a HA with a suitable work NRR is not what you really like, you could have two HA’s - one for work that you grudgingly wear, one for the rest of the time that you enjoy wearing more that doesn’t have a NRR.

*** The reason for doubling or halving allowed exposure time in only 3 dBA steps down or up is that dBA steps are exponential steps, not linear, directly proportional steps. Something more complicated than simple arithmetic is involved.


Phonak Serenity Pro Hearing Protection Systems:

Phonak Communication: Serenity hearing protection - Tailored, individual hearing-protection solutions for every noise situation (phonak-communications.com)

Phonak Serenity Safety Meter for verifying protection provided by a Serenity Pro setup:

Phonak Communication: SafetyMeter hearing-protection fit test - Determining noise attenuation - Hearing-protection fit training (phonak-communications.com)

Knowing Phonak, bet it ain’t cheap. But should give you documented NRR and allow you to communicate with fellow workers, if you or your company can afford it.

The main question would be - can it be a hearing aid, too, or is it just a highly-sophisticated form of hearing protection without any hearing aid function?

Taking a look at these links.

I do recall there are a regular radio calls at work, this would be kinda interesting if it’ll work for just one of the ear that I can hear from but I’m not sure how well it’ll do since my right ear is in severe-profound hearing loss range. I don’t know if that just allow me to hear the surrounding and listen to people talk at the same time.

I’m not understanding the question. I want to hear while I’m working.

Am not agreeing or disagreeing with following - a UK noise control company’s advice to EMPLOYERS on matters relating to employees with hearing aids in very noisy environments:

Hearing protection and hearing aids — The Noise Chap | Audiometry and Noise Assessments

Basically the noise control/abatement company says that modern hearing aids with amplification limits that are worn IN THE EAR under ear muffs are OK. The ear muff limits sound exposure. The hearing aid won’t amplify past its own set upper amplification limits.

But the advice is that BTE modern hearing aids are to be regarded with suspicion as they may block ear muff protection. I would think if one could find ear muffs that are comfy to wear and had big enough cups to fit over BTE bodies, you could then document that the hearing protection worked (well enough) with REM in the ear canal near the ear drum. The cups of my Surface Pro headphones fit well over my RIC ReSound Quattro’s and in fact, the main leakage, if any, is from the frames of my glasses preventing a good seal near my temples. (an interesting corollary topic relative to HA’s and hearing protection). Since I’m not bothered with the Surface Headphone cups pressed against my glasses frames because of the squishy cups, maybe you should try something similar. Rather than ordering from Amazon, maybe if you can safely do so w.r.t. COVID and masking, you should go to a Best Buy or similar and try on headphones on display, see how comfy they are and what their NRR, if any is?

Perhaps there should be no “%” sign after 27. Maybe what you mean to say is that OSHA is saying your hearing protection must have a NRR of at least 27 for each ear (with NO % sign involved?). If you are already at ~85 dB average, though, already allowable by OSHA for an 8-hour shift, with only 3 dBA reduction required to reach 82 dB average, allowable for a 16-hour shift, that doesn’t make sense, AFAIK. But maybe you are at 85 dB only if you wear the ear protection recommended by or to your employer??


How to Make Noise Reduction Earmuffs and Headsets More Comfortable - NoisyWorld

I somehow did not see that letter when I was looking around in the OSHA site a month ago or two. Thanks for bringing that up, I’ll try again and tell the audiologist this situation and report back.

The reason why 27% NRR because somehow somewhere between the company I work for and OSHA, the company says they require it and that’s because OSHA tell them to, I’m not sure which is true but they are pretty strict as the company doesn’t seem like they’ll reconsider otherwise.

The headphone wrap is also out of the question. Any additional pressure around my ear is basically killing me. I’m already wearing safety glasses, facemasks, and the HA/CI on my ears at work. My ear is not handling the facemask well and it was leaking some liquid/itchy/flaking something from top of my ear, and being irritated. Plus on the other hand, I move around a lot including going up/down of things as other times headphones are more than likely to always fall off my head. I just want something easy and convenient, and not killing my ear physically.

An Internet search also shows that there are ITE (In-The-Ear) devices from companies that are probably Here Today-Gone Tomorrow, and relatively expensive devices, too, mostly related to gunshot sound protection, that claim to provide a NRR of 27. Performance Hearing Aids Custom, Edge and Open Series By AXIL and SportEAR Custom 360 ITE Custom Molded Hunting Hearing Aid (NRR 27) - SportEAR Sporting Ear Protection for stuff I wouldn’t advise buying.

It would probably be better to get any such hearing aid through an HCP from a well-established major brand company. I think the tough thing about an NRR rating is from what I read at the NoisyWorld.com link that I provided above: https://noisyworld.org/noise-reduction-rating-usage/, is that an NRR rating is derived by a three-times repeated test on 10 different individuals over the frequency range at 9 different frequencies. So by that requirement, an individual cannot derive a NRR rating for his own HA just by being tested himself - the company that makes the hearing device would have to do the NRR test to get the 10 subjects on whom the test at multiple frequencies is thrice repeated. And the interesting thing is since the tests are done in a lab situation and the muffs or ear plugs are fitted by an expert to a degree seldom achieved out in the field, both NIOSH and OSHA encourage users not to go by the declared ratings but derate the efficacy of both ear plugs and ear muffs for in-field use. Ear plugs properly used are supposed to be more effective than ear muffs, especially for low frequency sounds if inserted deeply into the canal but in practice, on the supposition that most ear plugs are never properly worn, ear plugs are supposed to be derated more than ear muffs. The Noisy World writer has a great discussion on this. Am mentioned this not for you personally but for anyone in the future who comes across this thread, interested in hearing protection and the use of these devices and how much to count on the lab-tested ratings.


This is really good information.
This is the kind of information the OP can take to his audiologist I would think. Finding the right audiologist who understands this can put him him in the right aids with the correct NRR rating to prove to his job (OSHA) that his aid truly is a hearing protection device.

I know that I can hear decently with only the CI processor. It has really good sound processing as far as limiting loud noises. If the OP could only wear the CI processor and then wear the job required hearing protection (Honeywell Laser Lites) he would probably be good.
My Cochlear processor phone app or remote control can radically turn down noise too. This to me would be the easiest solution if the OP can hear good enough with only the CI.

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Sounds like a great suggestion that he should seriously work on with his audiologist first.

My interpretation (might be wrong) of what’s going on is that at MangoDragonFruit’s workplace, even though the noise situation is borderline passable with little or no additional hearing protection required for a 12-hour shift, his employer want to CYA by requiring all employees to wear hearing protection that has a rating of NRR 27, regardless. MangoDragonFruit wants to wear his hearing aid, not an earplug, in his “good” ear and finds ear muffs intolerable. So that therein is where the problem lies. He should skip the “NRR 27 % reduction” and just tells his audiologist that he needs a HA with an official NRR of 27 if your excellent make-CI-work suggestion can’t be achieved.

True but additional thing I want to point out for the benefit of being able to hear for time being:
-Safety sound alerts. Not all manufacturing have light alerts, nor even switching over to them asap.
-Being able to respond to things I should hear and perform well such as communication, keeping the machines running, and what else.

Meanwhile as I mentioned in my first post, I do wear my CI and ear plugs. However, I do not perform well at my job any better than what I previously had done with just my CI and HA. I currently am having issue with male voices, so I need to get the CI re-adjusted. I did brought my little remote to work with me and turned up the volume on the CI so I can hear better, I did. Now I think it resetted back to normal but not sure. Will check.

With that said, I want to take a benefit of looking into getting any help, suggestions, feedback, and the push and motivation to try to get OSHA to work with HA and loud areas. Not that it’ll benefit me but other who want that too. It’d certainly help.

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I sent an email to one of my audiologist, haven’t heard back from the other, to this link of the forum and this is what I got back.

There aren’t noise reduction ratings (NRR) for hearing aids, only for hearing protective devices. NRR is a measure that indicates how much sound a device blocks out when fit perfectly in the ear canal. It is a measure of loudness (decibel), not a measure of percentage as your post in the forum suggests.

Take a look at this document if you haven’t already: https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib122705.html . It reiterates the fact that a hearing aid is not a hearing protective device and will not meet OSHA criteria. Hearing aids and custom earmolds designed to connect to hearing aids do not have NRR.

I think we need to focus on how to achieve your goals of doing your job well and communicating as effectively as possible in your work environment. If we can come up with an effective plan that works, THIS will be the information to share with others and get the word out. Going up against OSHA or trying to develop a new device, I suspect, won’t be fruitful and certainly won’t fix your current problem anytime soon.

That last one is just salty, I want to connect to people who are willing to work with me. This is not me going to sue OSHA and many people who are working against me just because of this. This is me taking justice of how I am trying to bring something together. So therefore, I’ll not stop.

There was a popular business management book twenty three years ago - Who Moved My Cheese? that might provide some guidance on adapting to circumstances when people don’t see things your way.

I found an OSHA document way back from 2005 on OSHA policy on dealing with hearing impairment in noisy work places that predates the letter link that I sent you so that might have some helpful information in it:

“ Innovative Workplace Safety Accommodations for
Hearing-Impaired Workers,” SHIB 07-22-2005 (osha.gov)

The link to the corresponding web page that used to deal with the same topic is broken and no longer works: https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib122705.html so I don’t know if the document that I’m referring you to is just an archival copy and no longer official OSHA policy.

There is also this slide talk from a consulting firm(?) as to what can be done for hearing impaired workers in a hazardous noisy workplace, which references the 2005 OSHA document: Effective Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Hearing Impairments pt 1 of 2 051619-Goddard.pdf (unt.edu)

I guess one thing that you could do is write or otherwise contact the various leading HA OEM’s: Phonak, Oticon, Sivantos(Signia, Widex, etc.), ReSound, Starkey and ask them if any HA, particularly custom-made ITE from a cast-mold would have an effective NRR/SNR rating or once custom-made could be rated. If you can get answers from at least a couple OEM’s, that would give you an idea of which way the wind usually blows. These companies or their representatives must have to deal with quite few folks each year in situations similar to yours.

It won’t do you any good to find a solution but not have a job so in the interest of keeping your job, it might be a good idea to go along as much as possible with what’s requested until you can muster a very, very convincing counter-argument. The best would be an alternative that OSHA has officially approved of for you. So I wonder if there is currently any office at OSHA that is so far removed from local interaction that your employer or local OSHA representatives don’t know about the department but the folks there have recent experience with providing solutions to situations like yours that you could be happy with - the previous OSHA letter that I referred you to was from The Directorate of Enforcement Programs - that’s pretty high up - but maybe that’s some place to start at OSHA? Good Luck. Hope you can find a win-win situation as it’s easiest to sell that sort of thing.

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