Santa Ana, CA, May 1, 2010 – The U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has awarded Sperian Respiratory Protection USA a contract to purchase 65,000 special configuration modified Sperian Blue1 half-mask respirators with speaking diaphragm for use in VHA hospitals nationwide. VHA is the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States with over 150 hospitals and 130,000 healthcare workers. This award is a result of Sperian’s emphasis on developing respiratory products that enhance speech intelligibility when worn by healthcare workers.
Recent studies have underscored the difficulties of communicating when wearing respiratory equipment.
A study by The National Center for Occupational Health and Infection Control, Veterans Health Administration was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, “Diminished Speech Intelligibility Associated with Certain Types of Respirators Worn by Healthcare Workers”* focused on communication interference associated with various disposable and half-mask respirators on the market today.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM had identified communication interference as a key issue to be studied in speech intelligibility. Communication interference is a concern with some respirators commonly used by U.S. healthcare workers. The objective of the VHA study was to determine speech intelligibility and auditory clarity of respirators commonly worn in a healthcare setting as compared to Surgical Masks and no respiratory protective equipment. Disposable, reusable and powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) were among those included in the study. The study looked at the percentage of words spoken and understood while the healthcare worker wore various types of respiratory protection devices.
Wearing half-face elastomeric respirators with voice augmentation equipment was associated with higher speech intelligibility than models without this equipment. The data shows a statistically significant difference in word intelligibility when comparing half-face elastomeric models equipped with and without speech augmentation devices. The study concluded that this problem may be partially mitigated by wearing half-face elastomeric models with “speaking membranes,” or voice augmentation devices that are associated with higher word intelligibility than those without such devices. PAPR respirators produce noise that can interfere with the hearing capability of the wearer. All respiratory protective devices were well tolerated for the duration of the study.
The Survivair Blue1 Half Mask with Speaking Diaphragm equipped with P100 Filters was among the highest rated and best performing reusable half mask respirator for speech tangibility.
The Survivair Blue1 with Speaking Diaghram is the only half-mask respirator available with a silicone, dual sealing flange skirt which offers a better sealing surface for keeping a tight seal and comfortable fit on healthcare workers. P100 Filters provide a 99.97% filtration efficiency.
Special modifications were made to the standard Survivair Blue1 specifically for the needs of the healthcare market. Splash guards for P100 filters were designed to keep patients from contaminating the filters. A sweep back exhalation valve cover was also developed to divert a worker’s exhaled breath away from the patient. These modifications created the Survivair Blue1 H-Version.
After analysis of the peculiar problems faced by healthcare workers, Sperian developed a modified half-mask product in a special configuration, packaged to meet the specific needs in the VHA. The Sperian H-Version Blue1 reusable elastomeric half-mask with Speaking Diaphragm provides the healthcare industry a single package that can be deployed to healthcare workers in a pandemic or when there is a shortage of disposable respirators. The VHA configuration package contains a fully assembled Sperian Blue1 H-Version respirator ready for donning, and a set of replacement P100 filters.
Sperian’s focus on intimate relationship with its end users was instrumental in quickly adapting the product and changes to meet the needs and requests of the VHA. Modification of the existing model required new NIOSH approval for the Sperian Blue1 H-Version. Sperian’s full respirator product design, test and manufacturing capabilities were deployed to obtain prompt NIOSH approval and ramp up production to meet delivery commitments.
* Radonovich Jr., Lewis J., Yanke, Robert, Cheng, Jing and Bender, Bradley (2009),’Diminished Speech Intelligibility Associated with Certain Types of Respirators Worn by Healthcare Workers’, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 7: 1, 63-70, First Published on: 10 November 2009 (iFirst)
About Sperian Protection
With nearly 6,000 employees worldwide, Sperian Protection (formerly Bacou-Dalloz) is the world’s leading manufacturer of personal protective equipment. Sperian's expertise focuses on head, body and fall protection products including; hearing, eye and respiratory protection, protective apparel, safety harnesses, belts, anchors and fall prevention systems.
For more information, visit www.sperian.com or contact Vick Sarkissian, Sr. Product Manager, at Sperian Respiratory Protection USA, LLC, 3001 South Susan Street, Santa Ana, CA 92704. He can be phoned at 714 427 5204 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org