Cotral Hearing Protection - Frequently Asked Questions

The Cotral solution is built around three themes: protect, sensitize, and control. Find the most frequently asked questions and our answers here.

Your questions on hearing protection devices

Hearing aids are instruments that amplify sound. They are used when people already suffer from hearing loss. Hearing protection devices, such as Cotral molded earplugs, on the other hand, prevent hearing loss.

Qeos molded earplugs meet one of the main requirements of the food industry: a detectable ball is offered as an option. You can complete that with a detectable cord. Furthermore, for better visibility, Qeos hearing protection devices are blue in color.

Your Prevention Technician will select the filters and the hearing protection model with the help of the SAPAN method. After asking the user a list of questions, the application proposes a list of hearing protection devices that are suitable for each person. Each employee experiences a reduction, depending on his level of exposure to his sound perception requirements or an eventual hearing deficit. The employee is protected from noise without being over-protected.

SNR is the acronym for Single Number Rating. It is the global index of impairment, a weighted average of impairment on all measured frequencies (63, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz).

Cotral hearing protection devices are guaranteed for a period of 6 years. Beyond that, we advise you to take a new set of impressions or assess their real efficiency with a CAPA test.

You will get a unique guarantee in the hearing protection device market: the Effi-6 Guarantee. It covers the product if the instrument breaks, as well as the comfort of noise reduction. Your hearing protection is offered with a money-back guarantee.

There are two types of filters, both of which reduce noise differently :

  • Flat response filters reduce sound without distorting it. Imagine being able to reduce the ambient volume, just as you do with your MP3 player or your Stereo system. These filters offer the same sound quality, with reduced volume. These hearing protection devices are equipped with filters that are recommended for repair technicians who must listen for the slightest malfunction, people who have to communicate in a noisy environment, the supervising staff, or people working in the world of music or show-business.
  • HFA (High Frequency Attenuation) filters soften noises on high frequencies. These filters are useful in very noisy places : industries, metallurgy, BTP, etc.

If you have the Filter Box, by choosing the SAPAN recommendations, you will be able to autonomously manipulate the attenuation of the protective hearing device by changing the filters. A product information leaflet is provided with your Filter Box.

You can also contact Customer Service or your Prevention Technician, who will adjust the attenuation by changing the filter according to SAPAN recommendations.

The Filter Box is a box set that contains several pairs of acoustic filters. It allows you to autonomously manipulate the attenuation of your employees' Cotral molded plugs. Based on the hearing protection device model you are using, you can choose the Filter Box that suits you :

  • Filter Box OS for Qeos Original Sound
  • Filter Box XT for Qeos XT

In order to ensure that the hearing protection device is comfortable, it is highly recommended to use Cleanil wipes every day to clean impurities such as dirt or earwax. Cleaning the device weekly using Cleanil tablets maintains the efficiency of the acoustic filter.

Wearing the hearing protection device is an important factor that guarantees its efficiency. The best Individual Noise Protector is the one that is worn 100% of the time. If the device is not worn, even for a short while, its efficiency reduces rapidly: If the device is not worn for 2 minutes in an 8-hour working day at 80 dB(A) its protection efficiency is reduced by 25%. Here are the conditions that must be met to ensure that your employees wear their hearing protection devices 100% of the time spent in a noisy environment :

  1. Using a comfortable hearing protection device
  2. Adapting the device to each person’s hearing difficulty
  3. Being aware of the risks related to noise
  4. Proposing a hearing protection device that is easy to use and clean

To replace a lost hearing protection device, get in touch with Customer Service at Click on "Your online assistance", then on "Request for assistance". While you wait for your new molded plugs, you must provide other Individual Noise Protectors to your employees, such as disposable ear plugs, fixed hold earplugs, or muffs.

The first thing to do after distributing the hearing protection devices to your employees is to remind them of the importance of wearing them gradually. Even when the molded ear plugs fit perfectly in the ears, they are still not a part of the body. Wearing them can be troublesome for your employees. It is therefore recommended to wear them regularly, but little by little : 2 hours after the end of their shift for the first few days, and then gradually increase the duration. It takes two to three weeks to fully adapt.

When wearing the device for the first time, your employees could experience the following effects :

  • An internal resonance
  • The feeling of being in a soundproof box
  • An irritation in the ears
  • The impression that voices are too loud or the noise of machines is too low

Such sensations are perfectly normal. They do not last very long and disappear with time if your employees follow the adaptation recommendations.

Occupational deafness is a perceptive deafness that is caused by exposure to noise in the workplace. It is characterized by a reduction in hearing acuity : the transmission of sound is correct, but its perception (analysis) is defective. It corresponds to the destruction of ciliated cells.

If the deafness is identified as an occupational disease, the organization is responsible.

In terms of safety and prevention, the employer has an obligation to achieve a result. If an employee is diagnosed as deaf due to his professional activity, but the employer provides him with equipment for prevention and protection, the law will take into account all of these elements.

In cases where the Individual Noise Protector limits are exceeded, it is possible to increase noise reduction with double protection. This is composed of an intra-ear plug (standard or customized) and shell-shaped headband.

How is the noise reduction of double protection calculated ?
The formula is as follows : 33 x log ((0.4 x reduction of intra) + (0.1 x reduction of ear muffs)) (Etude A. Damongeot et al.)
Example : A molded earplug with an attenuation level of 32 dB and an ear muff with an attenuation level of 35 dB = 40 dB attenuation.

An anti-noise earplug is not more efficient. If an employee is exposed to a noise level of 85 dB(A), equipping him with an Individual Noise Protector with an attenuation level of 30 dB would be a mistake. If the worker is too isolated, he will not tolerate his hearing protection devices. He will be tempted to remove them in order to listen to warning signals or communicate with his colleagues. The EN458 norms recommend a threshold level between 70 and 75 dB(A). The objective is to reduce the perceived noise levels under 75 dB(A).

The cost can vary, depending on several factors. The amount may seem to be higher when compared to standard disposable earplugs, but if you compare overall spending over 6 years, you will see that Cotral complete solution is more economical.

Cotral Prevention Laboratory technicians come to your site to take your employees’ ear impressions. This meeting enables an exchange of information on the risks related to noise and the usage of Cotral molded earplugs. Prevention Technicians use the SAPAN method to determine which hearing protection device is most suitable for each employee, based on his specifics and the nature of his work. Everything is configured with respect to the functioning of your organization.

Your questions about raising awareness among your employees

When you train your employees on noise-related risks, you make them responsible and conscious of the fact that they expose themselves every day to an invisible danger. They become responsible for their own hearing health and adopt proper behaviors: wearing their hearing protection devices constantly during exposure, not taking them off while communicating, and so on. If hearing protection devices are properly worn, the risk of occupational deafness is reduced.

A prevention campaign is a set of actions taken to train and inform your employees about "noise risks".

Simple suggestions that will ensure a successful noise-risk prevention campaign :

  1. Make your campaign a regular event
  2. Multiply the channels of communication for greater impact: videos, comics, games, posters, and so on
  3. Repeat the messages regularly

Your questions on how to assess the efficiency of hearing protection devices

Use the CAPA© to determine whether your employees' Individual Noise Protectors are still reducing noise effectively after years of use. It assesses whether the intra-ear hearing protection devices…

  1. …comply with manufacturer specifications
  2. …efficiently protect employees

Cotral Laboratory offers 3 possibilities for conducting efficiency tests :

  • Buy the software and equipment to conduct the tests on your own
  • Borrow the software and equipment to conduct the tests for a limited period
  • Choose the full service option provided by the Prevention Technician in your organization

Several scientific studies have established that the external ear grows. The customized hearing protection device is generally a replica…

  • …of a part of the auditory canal
  • …of a part or even the totality of the earlobe
  • …of the ear hook, sometimes

No study has yet established that ear growth has an impact on the ear canal. As a result, Cotral Lab recommends testing customized hearing protection devices at the end of the guarantee period. If they are still efficient, your employees can continue using them to ensure their safety. However, if the test reveals that hearing protection devices do not reduce noise as much as they are supposed to, you must then ask your employees to renew the devices.