Evaluation of MIRE Testing Methods for Rating of an Open-Back Active Noise Reduction Headset


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Virginia Tech


Active noise reduction was first proposed as a solution for environmental noise over fifty years ago. The use of active noise reduction (ANR) systems, however, was not demonstrated until much later. Recent advances in technology have made the use of active noise reduction systems in personal hearing protection devices (HPDs) practical. Through the use of advanced electronics technology, ANR equipped devices offer the potential to provide increased low frequency attenuation for hearing conservation applications. In order to use ANR equipped devices in an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sanctioned hearing conservation program, a testing standard for ANR equipped HPDs needs to be developed. Existing HPD testing standards offer the most promise for developing an acceptable standard for testing ANR-equipped HPDs. The microphone in real ear (MIRE) testing method is one method that offers a practical method for determining the performance of ANR devices for use in hearing conservation programs. A modified version of this method was successfully used in this study to determine the performance profile of an open-back ANR equipped headset. The results of this and other studies that have used a modified MIRE testing method can be used to support the acceptance of this method as the basis of an approved standard for testing ANR-equipped hearing protection devices.



active noise reduction, hearing protection, OSHA standards