Q&A - Driving While Wearing Hearing Protection

Q&A ImageWhat are the laws in BC about wearing hearing protection while operating a non-commercial vehicle?

I drive a diesel panel van, and the noise level in the cab is VERY high at highway speeds - to the point that conversation is difficult and my ears ring after extended drives.  I am concerned about hearing damage, so would like to wear hearing protection.

I have found many options... There are electronic “active” noise cancelling devices, and “passive” noise attenuation devices. Both types are available as “in ear” plugs or as a head-band style over-the-ear headphone.  After some testing I have found active noise cancelling ear buds to be very effective, but am concerned about their legality.  Nothing dampens a vacation like a $365 traffic citation...

I have read the electronic devices regulation and understand I can legally use a cell phone hands-free while wearing one earpiece, but there is no mention in the regulation about wearing electronic devices for hearing protection, and I have not found hearing protection mentioned anywhere in the BC Highway Act.

So, are drivers allowed to wear hearing protection while operating Class 5 vehicles on public highways, and if so are there any restrictions on the type?



Deaf people do drive, so hearing is not essential to the task.

I think that the rule on earphones that you refer to is an attempt to minimize distracted driving. Wearing of hearing protection that merely reduces most / all sounds is not prohibited. Although, if you do, it would probably be wise to be aware that you may have to be more visually observant to make up for the lack of aural cues.

I'd bet that if I ask WorkSafeBC, occupational health rules mandate hearing protection in noisy locations such as the cabs of some motor vehicles. Their equipment suggestions include "electronic earmuffs or earplugs" which I expect would be active noise cancelling devices.

Hearing protection that is designed to only do the job of hearing protection is not an "electronic device" as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act or the Use of Electronic Devices While Driving Regulation.

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