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hearing protection

  • Workplace Safety: Preventing Hearing Damage

    workplace safety preventing hearing lossOne of the often-overlooked dangers of the workplace is hearing damage. Sometimes people ignore the danger of hearing damage and other times people don't seem to realize it poses a legitimate threat. The truth is that hearing damage is very real, and anyone working in an environment with excessive noise is subject to suffering some sort of hearing loss.
     
    The reality of the situation is often surprising to some people. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to operate a jack-hammer 10 hours a day to damage your hearing. Often times, people suffer permanent hearing damage and/or loss from working in an environment that might not seem dangerously loud. If the sound is repetitive or constant, it doesn't have to be at an extremely high decibel to do damage. Many industrial workers, equipment operators, and processing plant employees have suffered problems like ringing ears, decreased hearing sensitivity, mild to intermediate hearing loss from nothing other than spending so much time in their work environment near mid-level noise intensity. Others have suffered very serious ringing of the ears and massive hearing loss due to being used to the sound intensity and/or failure to utilize hearing protection.
     
    So, how do you minimize hearing damage? It's rather simple - hearing protection is the single most important factor. If you're going to be working near excessive noise for specific tasks, be sure to have proper protection available at all times. It's easy to use and then remove the protection as needed when the sound intensity decreases or the tasks requiring hearing protection are complete. If you're working in a medium-noise facility where long-term exposure is a concern, consider wearing disposable ear plugs. They can be worn in a loose fashion that helps protect your ears by muffling loud noises while still making it possible to hear and communicate with others.
     
    Remember, your ears don't have to hurt for noise to hurt your ears. Too many people disregard the importance of hearing protection while ignoring the possibilities of hearing damage because they assume that if sound levels aren't hurting their ears then it's okay. It can take quite some time for hearing damage to develop or show symptoms, but it can also happen instantaneously in the right environment. Protect your ears, be safe, and keep hearing protection at your disposal.

  • Listen to the Info: Occupational Hearing Loss is No Joke!

    occupational hearing lossIn the United States alone, over 30 million people are exposed to hazardous or dangerous noise levels in the workplace - and believe it or not, noise-related hearing loss has been noted as one of the largest occupational health hazards for over 25 years. In the past 10 years alone, almost 125,000 workers have sustained serious and permanent damage and/or loss of hearing as a direct result of exposure to excessive noise in the workplace.
     
    If you've ever suffered from ringing ears, stuffy ears or any sort of temporary hearing damage from high noise levels then you may want to take note. While the symptoms may only be temporary, repeated occurrences can lead to sudden permanent damage with little or no warning. While many of us may find excessive noise to be more of an annoyance than an actual danger, it's surely something that shouldn't be overlooked.
     
    While the hearing damage is usually irreparable, there are other hazards to excessive noise levels that can further expose an individual to health risks on the job, such as physical and psychological stress. Also, excessive noise inhibits the ability to communicate and can be a precursor to unintentional ignorance of other loud sounds that could otherwise be a warning for an immediate unseen danger.
     
    It's important that when you're working in an environment with repetitive or sustained noise of an excessive level, you learn to distinguish what's "too loud".
     
    How Loud is Too Loud?
    • If you're hearing ringing or humming in your ears after leaving the noisy area or after leaching work for the day.
    • You have to yell in order to be heard by others who are less than 3 feet away.
    • You experience temporary hearing loss at or after work.
     
    If you're experiencing any of the above, you're at risk for permanent and irreversible hearing damage and/or complete hearing loss. Don't take this lightly! For more information on how to manage excessive noise and prevent hearing damage or loss, visit the OSHA page for Occupational Noise Exposure where you can read detailed information about the risks.
     
    Additionally, keep your ears protected from damaging noise whenever possible with the proper ear protection. There is a variety of ear protection products available that are highly effective at helping to prevent damage to hearing from extreme noise on the job. Hearing loss is a serious matter, please don't underestimate the risk.

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