Ear protection

What are people using for ear protection for datacenters these days? I'm
down to my last couple of corded 3M 1110:


These work reasonably well in practice, with a rated nominal noise
reduction rate of 29dB. Some people find them uncomfortable, but they work
well for me.

There are other ear plugs with rated NRR of up to 32-33dB. Anyone have any
opinions on what brands work well for them?


What are people using for ear protection for datacenters these days?

Telecommuting, in my case.

had to say it! :0

I used molded 15dB earplug from ACS that I also use for other environments (music, etc).
They are way much more comfortable (like, you forget them) but also more expensive.

BTW I'm looking for a place to get new ones in Europe, if anyone has got adresses.

Will van Gulik

I carry these around in my pocket all the time:


Not just for datacenter use. I find myself pulling them out every few
months when I happen to be somewhere uncomfortably noisy. Not the same
(or as much dB reduction) as some of the other foam ones, but they seem
nearly indestructible and washable as well.

I also have some of these around, because they fold up really nicely.


About the same dB reduction (21) as the above. You can of course use
both of these products together for a much higher degree of noise
reduction but I rarely find myself needing that.

... JG

Why not just build a Datacenter that is quiet?

Maybe I've always listened to my music to loud and spend the bulk of time
via ssh, but I've never felt a need for hearing protection in a DC, is this
generally an issue for people?

What are people using for ear protection for datacenters these days?
I'm down to my last couple of corded 3M 1110:


This are cheap, but that's sort of the point - you can put a bin, or several bins, filled with them on the wall outside a noisy room, and they're always available. This is working on the principle that the cheap ear plugs that always get used are better than the high-end ear protection that keeps getting forgotten in the office or left out of bags because it's bulky.

My workplace has many constantly noisy areas, other than the datacenter, so this may be a somewhat different scenario than yours. Also, a spare pair helped me survive a Panic! At The Disco concert last week, so I'm all for 'em.

Why not just build a Datacenter that is quiet?

Because the cost differential to do so is a lot greater than the $10
to get some hearing protection?

Passive cooling typically translates to lower performance but also can
be more expensive.

... JG

When buying a compute cluster, if there's a budget choice between
15 more teraflops, or 15 less decibels, the teraflops *always* win.

Maybe I've always listened to my music to loud and spend the bulk of time
via ssh, but I've never felt a need for hearing protection in a DC, is this
generally an issue for people?

Depends on how long and how noisy.

As I've gotten older, I find loud noise in general is less tolerable,
so I've taken to always keeping a pair of earplugs with me. It makes
being around loud music, etc., much more enjoyable.

Long term exposure to noise is widely considered to be a hazard, but
walking into an average data center for an hour once a month is
probably not that risky.

... JG

Loudly sounds like a flop to me.... puns fully intended

I use these http://www.amazon.com/V-MODA-Faders-Tuned-Earplugs-Electro/dp/B007RRTO2Y/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1443014097&sr=8-9&keywords=er+20+ear+plugs in the equipment room, You can still hear, just brings the level down to a manageable level. Looks like a pair of headphones.

On 9/23/15, 7:53 AM, "NANOG on behalf of Joe Greco"

I use these normally. http://www.howardleight.com/earplugs/laser-lite

I am surprised some datacenters don't have a requirement for ear protection when entering their facilitiy. Most large construction sites I have been to required me to have ear plugs at least in a pocket and I have been to a few factories that required them on at all times. Many times these sites are quieter than the usual DC.

Since I’m in our colo facility this morning, I decided to put some numbers on it in my little isolated corner with lots of blowers running.

According to my iPhone SPL meter, average SPL is 81 - 82 dB with peaks 88 - 89 dB.

According to the OSHA hearing protection chart, 90 dB is the maximum level for 8-hour daily exposure. See https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9735

Etymotic, a manufacturer of high performance ear buds/ear phones says 85 dB is acceptable 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. See http://www.etymotic.com/downloads/dl/file/id/15/product/82/guide_to_safe_listening.pdf

There is some argument to the point of what type of noise but ~10 dB is still pretty good headroom using the OSHA limits and 4 dB is certainly usable for the Etymotic figure.

In the general area the levels are 6 - 9 dB lower.

My thought is if you’re listening to music many hours per day you’re may be exceeding these levels already.

Obviously seek competent medical advice, but my understanding is that
this is a myth.

The energy of sound is what causes damage. Bach played at 120dB will do
just the same damage as a jet engine at 120dB. By reducing the "alarm"
factor - by being more predictable, basically - loud sounds like music
are often easier to tolerate and are often perceived as less loud, but
energy is energy, and energy is damage.

The other factor is time - the longer the sound continues at a given
level, the more damage it does to the hearing.

Here in Australia, 84dB for 8 hours is the highest "dose" that is
legally allowed in the workplace without hearing protection. For sounds
over about 95dB hearing protection is required even for short exposures.

Regards, K.

I wear one of two things:

1) The 3M Peltor 105 ear muffs which offer 30db reduction.
I keep them in my car because I also use them for the gun
range, they fit snug but not annoying. They're only $18
on amazon: http://tinyurl.com/peltor105
There's also a behind the head bar if you don't like the over
the top kind.

2) A lot more expensive, but with a side benefit; I have
a custom set of ear plugs that I use for go kart racing so
I can have radio communication. You can get them online
or at most race tracks on a race day. Someone, or DIY at
home, will use a big syringe to squirt the mold liquid in
your ear, it sits for 60 seconds, then they pull it out and
send it off to have the ear plugs made. They're very good
at eliminating noise but have the side benefit of a
headphone plug so you can still use your phone, ipod, etc.
while you're in the data center. :slight_smile:


I use Etymotic earplugs on my motorcycle as well as in other loud
environments, because they attenuate "without loss of clarity":


Being a musician in a band, as well as very frequent concert goer, I use those same ones. I like them the best for all around use. I have used many different kinds, and I prefer these.

Thank you,

Jordan Medlen
Network Engineer
Bisk Education, Inc.

I use earphones for the phone and alerts function, and because they are
noise cancelling, they lower the db of noise. I use Shure SE215.

Eric Rogers
PDS Connect
(317) 831-3000 x200