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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in noise-induced hearing loss

Posted by on in Noise Measurement

Did you know 22 million workers in America are exposed to potentially harmful level of noise every year at their workplace? It is also estimated that 1 in 4 adults aged 20-69 have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Most people think of workplace safety as fall prevention or other such hazards that can cause immediate and severe injury, but one of the most common safety concerns in the workplace is the risk of hearing loss. May is designated as Better Hearing Month to raise awareness and help you take steps to protect your workers’ ears!

When looking at noise and hearing loss prevention, there are two main types of noise that cause hazards to your hearing – impulse sound and continuous exposure.

  • Impulse sound – sudden, loud noise that is typically brief in nature. In the work environment, this is usually a machine that activates quickly making a loud noise.
  • Continuous Exposure – this is much more common in the workplace. It may not be extremely loud, but it’s constant, and people tend to get used to it, but it is causing ongoing damage.

One of the best ways to help prevent hearing loss is to make sure you are providing proper personal protection equipment (PPE) for noise reduction. Here are the most common options:

  • Ear Plugs – effective and inexpensive way to block out the majority of the damaging noise
  • Traditional Ear Muffs – for louder locations, ear protection that goes over the ears is most beneficial
  • Electronic Ear Muffs – these can drown out all the background noise, but capture the voices and conversations and play them back into your ear

Giving your employees options that they are comfortable with means they will most likely use them on a regular basis. Cultivating a safe workplace is an employer’s responsibility, and a sound investment (see what we did there?) is to implement hearing programs and protections. At Workplace Safety, we can help you establish a hearing conservation program or conduct noise surveys to see where in the organization hearing protection is a must. Give us a call at 317-253-9737 and check out our noise measurement section of our website. 

A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that over half of noise-exposed workers didn’t use hearing protection “always” or “usually” when exposed to hazardous occupational noise. Hearing protection device (HPD) non-use was only measured in workers who reported exposure to noise on the job. The study was published online October 1, 2021 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-10-07-21.html

The workplace is one of the most common places people will be exposed to harmful levels of noise, putting them at risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which is permanent and often progressive. If your company performs manufacturing, construction or mining activities, noise is going to be an issue that needs to be addressed.

According to OSHA’s standards, employers must implement a hearing conservation program “when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).” These programs “strive to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices necessary to safeguard themselves.”

A hearing conservation program should include employers developing and carrying out plans that reduce noise in the work environment and providing equipment and materials that help workers protect themselves. Some things to keep in mind while developing a hearing conservation program include:
• Measurement of sound levels in the workplace
• Reducing noise through both engineering controls (making changes to equipment or the surrounding area) and administrative controls (making adjustments to the work schedule or workplace)
• Yearly training programs about hearing protection, as well as informing new employees of noise-induced hearing loss and other risks that occur due to noise exposure
• Within six months of employment, employees who are exposed to loud noises should be given a free baseline audiogram – and then a yearly free audiogram to compare any hearing issues
• Provide a variety of hearing protection options to those employees exposed to hearing hazards, including lower-noise power tools and ear protection, such as earplugs and earmuffs
• Records kept of employees’ varying noise exposure levels

The cost impact of a hearing conservation program can be minimized with an accurate noise survey. At Workplace Safety & Health Inc, we use top quality sound level meters and noise dosimeters to help you identify only those employees that need to be included in the program and determine if the initial cost of engineering controls is a sound investment over the on-going costs of a hearing conservation program management. We have the expertise to help you make sound decisions for noise measurement and control – 317-253-9737.

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