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Occupational hearing loss (OHL) is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States with about 22 million workers exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, 10 million exposed to solvents, and an unknown number exposed to other ototoxicants that can lead to OHL. According to the National Institute for Occupational and Safety Health (NIOSH), noise is considered loud (hazardous) when it reaches 85 decibels or higher or if someone has to raise his/her voice to speak with someone 3 feet away (arm’s length). Ototoxic chemical exposure includes such chemicals as organic solvents (styrene, trichloroethylene and such mixtures), heavy metals (mercury, lead, trimethyltin), asphyxiants (carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide), and pesticides.

NIOSH has always considered hearing loss prevention as one of its top priorities as OHL is permanent, but also nearly always preventable. The best solution to dangerous noise levels in the workplace is to reduce the source of the noise, if feasible. One NIOSH initiative is to encourage companies to “Buy Quiet,” meaning to develop a plan to take noise levels into consideration when making purchasing decisions.

If this is not technically feasible, workers must use hearing protection devices (HPDs), which when properly selected and correctly worn, these devices will minimize the chance of developing a hearing loss. When considering hearing loss due to ototoxicants, it has been shown that some of these chemicals can cause hearing loss in conjunction with noise levels, but some can cause hearing loss without simultaneous excessive noise exposure.

Virtually all companies that perform manufacturing, construction, or mining activities create noise, so the first step to protecting your employees’ hearing is to establish a hearing conservation program. Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. can help your business establish such a program, which would include provisions for noise measurement, engineering and/or administrative control of noise, audiometric (individual employee hearing) testing and provision of hearing protectors.

Noise exposure crosses all industries and affects many workers, and many workers are unaware that their hearing loss may be an OHL, and in most cases, happens gradually. Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. is ready to help you protect your employees’ hearing. Contact us at 317-253-9737.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure are more common among workers exposed to loud noise at work, according to a NIOSH study recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Researchers found that a quarter of U.S. workers reported a history of noise exposure at work.

NIOSH researchers analyzed data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey to estimate the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty, and heart conditions within U.S. industries and occupations. The researchers also examined the association between workplace noise exposure and heart disease.

Read entire article - https://ohsonline.com/articles/2018/03/23/cdc-study-shows-association-between-noise-exposure-and-heart-disease-risk-factors.aspx

 

Millions of workers are exposed to noise in the workplace every day and when uncontrolled, noise exposure may cause permanent hearing loss. Research demonstrates exposure to certain chemicals, called ototoxicants, may cause hearing loss or balance problems, regardless of noise exposure. Substances including certain pesticides, solvents, and pharmaceuticals that contain ototoxicants can negatively affect how the ear functions, causing hearing loss, and/or affect balance.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib030818.html

Posted by on in Noise Measurement

If you’re accustomed to ignoring surveys offered through everything from sales receipts to emails to online pop-ups, here’s one it pays to lend an ear to.

Noise, or undesirable sound, is one of the most common health problems to be found in many workplaces. Practically all workplaces directly involved in manufacturing, construction, or mining create noise as a by-product. While this cannot be totally eliminated, the negative health effects of noise can be limited by wearing the proper personal protective equipment and, in some instances, implementing engineering and/or administrative controls.

Noise can also be detrimental to job performance, increase fatigue, and cause irritability. Perhaps the most widely known harmful result from exposure is noise-induced hearing loss. Such losses can be either temporary or permanent; the extent of the damage is dependent mainly upon the intensity and length of exposure.

In the early 1980s, OSHA announced a hearing conservation amendment (29 CFR 1910.95, Occupational Noise Exposure Standard) that requires hearing conservation programs for all employees exposed to noise on an eight-hour, time weighted average (TWA) in excess of 85 decibels measured on an A-weighted scale (85 dBA). The permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA for an eight-hour TWA. It’s worth noting that continued exposure to more than 85 decibels (dBA) of noise may cause gradual, but permanent, damage to hearing.

The OSHA hearing conservation program for industry has five parts. They are:
-Noise Monitoring: Sound levels must be measured to determine the degree of potential employee exposure and what safeguards may be needed.
-Hearing Testing: All employees in a hearing conservation program must be tested annually.
-Employee Training and Education: Employees in a hearing conservation program must be trained every year on hearing protection.
-Hearing Protectors: Hearing protection devices should be made available to all employees according to the noise risks identified.
-Record Keeping: A company must maintain records on sound level results, equipment calibration results, and hearing test records of employees, along with its educational activities.

Fortunately, a noise survey of a workplace environment can be used identify where high noise levels are most likely to occur, leading to a more efficient hearing conservation program.

Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. can provide this service, which can be used to help identify employees who need to be included in a noise control program and whether to implement engineering controls to reduce exposure. Need assistance with preliminary engineering control selection? Give us a call. We can even assist third party engineers with design guidance – telling them what is needed and let them do the design work.

As always, thanks for listening!

Tagged in: noise measurement

Some researchers predict that more than two-thirds of U.S. adults aged 70 years or older will have “clinically meaningful” hearing loss by 2060.


That’s according to a study published In the March 2, 2017, edition of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Researchers looked at national population projection estimates using current prevalence estimates of hearing loss to forecast the growing number of hearing loss cases. According to the study’s authors, adults aged 20 or older with hearing loss will increase from 44.11 million in 2020 to 73.50 million in 2060, with the greatest increase occurring in older adults.

Read entire article - http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2606784

Tagged in: hearing loss

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