What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

February 17, 2017

What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise induced hearing loss is a permanent hearing impairment resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. One in 10 Americans has a hearing loss that affects his or her ability to understand normal speech. Excessive noise exposure is the most common cause of hearing loss.

“The National Institute of Health reports that about 15 percent of Americans aged

20 to 69 have high frequency hearing loss related to occupational or leisure activities.”

Because of occupational risk of noise induced hearing loss, there are government standards regulating allowable noise exposure. People working before the mid 1960s may have been exposed to higher levels of noise where there were no laws mandating use of devices to protect hearing. Recent studies show an alarming increase in hearing loss in youngsters. Evidence suggests that loud rock music along with increased use of portable radios with earphones may be responsible for this phenomenon.

When noise is too loud, it begins to kill cells in the inner ear.

As the exposure time to loud noise increases, more and more hair cells are destroyed. As the number of hair cells decreases, so does your hearing. Currently, there is no way to restore life to dead hair cells; the damage is permanent.

The damage caused by noise, called sensorineural hearing loss, can be caused by several factors other than noise, but noise-induced hearing loss is different in one important way – it can be reduced or prevented altogether.

Noise can also cause a reversible hearing loss, called a temporary threshold shift. This typically occurs in individuals who are exposed to gunfire or firecrackers, and hear ringing in their ears after the event (tinnitus).

What Causes Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

First, we have to define noise. Sound can be measured scientifically in two ways — intensity and pitch. Both of these affect the degree to which sound (noise) damages hearing.

NIHL: Intensity of Sound

Intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB). The scale runs from the faintest sound the human ear can detect, which is labeled 0 dB, to over 180 dB, the noise at a rocket pad during launch. Decibels are measured logarithmically, being 20 times the log of the ratio of a particular sound pressure to a reference sound pressure. This means that as decibel intensity increases by units of 20, each increase is 10 times the lower figure. Thus, 20 decibels is 10 times the intensity of 0 decibels, and 40 decibels is 100 times as intense as 20 decibels. Sound intensity may be given in two different units. Persons interested in the actual physical quantification of sound use units of sound pressure level (SPL). SPL is calibrated to a constant sound pressure level that does not vary with frequency. On audiograms, however, sound intensity is calibrated in hearing level (HL), meaning that the reference sound is one that that just barely heard by a normal population. Thus HL units are relative ones and do not generally correspond to SPL units. Higher intensity (db) of sound causes more damage. Many experts agree that continual exposure to more than 85 decibels may become dangerous.

The following table illustrates some common sounds and their intensity.

Approximate Decibel Level Examples
0 dB the quietest sound you can hear.
30 dB whisper, quiet library.
60 dB normal conversation, sewing machine, typewriter.
90 dB lawnmower, shop tools, truck traffic; 8 hours per day is the maximum exposure (protects 90% of people).
100 dB chainsaw, pneumatic drill, snowmobile; 2 hours per day is the maximum exposure without protection.
115 dB sandblasting, loud rock concert, auto horn; 15 minutes per day is the maximum exposure without protection.
140 dB gun muzzle blast, jet engine; noise causes pain and even brief exposure injures unprotected ears; maximum allowed noise with hearing protector.

NIHL

NIHL: Frequency

Pitch is measured in frequency of sound vibrations per second, called Hertz (Hz). Frequency is measured in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz). The higher the pitch of the sound, the higher the frequency. A low pitch such as a deep voice or a tuba makes fewer vibrations per second than a high voice or violin. Generally noise induce hearing loss occurs at a pitch of about 2000-4000 Hz. Frequency is measured in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz). The higher the pitch of the sound, the higher the frequency. Young children, who generally have the best hearing, can often distinguish sounds from about 20 Hz, such as the lowest note on a large pipe organ, to 20,000 Hz, such as the high shrill of a dog whistle that many people are unable to hear.

Human speech, which ranges from 300 to 4,000 Hz, sounds louder to most people than noises at very high or very low frequencies. When hearing impairment begins, the high frequencies are often lost first, which is why people with hearing loss often have difficulty hearing the high-pitched voices of women and children.

Loss of high frequency hearing also can distort sound, so that speech is difficult to understand even though it can be heard. Hearing impaired people often have difficulty detecting differences between certain words that sound alike, especially words that contain S, F, SH, CH, H, or soft C, sounds, because the sound of these consonant is in a much higher frequency range than vowels and other consonants.

 

NIHL:Duration

In addition, the duration (how long you are exposed to a noise) can affect the extent of noise induced hearing loss. The longer you are exposed to a loud noise, the more damaging it may be.

Every gunshot produces a noise that could damage the ears of anyone in close hearing range. Large bore guns and artillery are the worst because they are the loudest. But even cap guns and firecrackers can damage your hearing if the explosion is close to your ear. Anyone who uses firearms without some form of ear protection risks hearing loss.

Excessive noise is present in many situations. Some of the more common ones include occupational noise (machinery, etc.), loud music, and non-occupational noise (lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.).

NIHL: Occupational Noise

Habitual exposure to noise above 85 dB will cause a gradual hearing loss in a significant number of individuals, and louder noises will accelerate this damage. For unprotected ears, the allowed exposure time decreases by one half for each 5 dB increase in the average noise level. For instance, exposure is limited to 8 hours per day at 90 dB, 4 hours per day at 95 dB, and 2 hours per day at 100 dB. The highest permissible noise exposure for the unprotected ear is 115 dB for 15 minutes per day. Any noise above 140 dB is not permitted.


SOURCE: http://american-hearing.org/disorders/noise-induced-hearing-loss/#whatis

 

NIOSH HAS DEVELOPED A SOUND LEVEL METER MOBILE APP DESIGNED TO MEASURE NOISE EXPOSURE IN THE WORKPLACE.

February 1, 2017

 

NIOSH has developed a sound level meter mobile app designed to measure noise exposure in the workplace.

The app, available for Apple devices, provides noise exposure metrics that are of “importance for proper occupational noise measurements,” NIOSH states in a Jan. 17 blog post. NIOSH is collaborating with other agencies to develop an Android version, but the agency stated that it may verify the app only on selected devices because of the large number of available Android devices and models. The project would begin when funding becomes available.

The app supplies instantaneous sound levels in A-weighted, C-weighted or Z-weighted decibels, as well as parameters intended to aid with lowering occupational noise-induced hearing loss. Users can save and share measurement data and receive general information about noise and hearing loss prevention.

NIOSH recommends using the app with an external microphone and acoustical calibrator for better accuracy. The app is not intended to be used for compliance or as a substitute to a professional sound level meter or a noise dosimeter, the agency cautions.

In 2014, NIOSH researchers examined nearly 200 sound measurement apps. They found that most available apps are designed for the casual user and do not have the accuracy and functionality for occupational noise measurements, according to the blog post.

NOISE AND HEARING LOSS PREVENTION

 Close-up of downloaded Sound app.

The NIOSH Sound Level Meter mobile application is a tool to measure sound levels in the workplace and provide noise exposure parameters to help reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

Key Benefits

  • Raises workers’ awareness about their work environment
  • Helps workers make informed decisions about the potential hazards to their hearing
  • Serves as a research tool to collect noise exposure data
  • Promotes better hearing health and prevention efforts
  • Easy to use

CPE is ISO 9001 Certified

November 30, 2016

ISO 9001 Certified

ISO 9001 is a comprehensive quality management system standard. ISO 9001is maintained by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and is administered by independent accreditation and certification bodies.

Some of the requirements in ISO 9001 include:

  • A set written procedures covering all processes in the business
  • Monitoring processes continuously to ensure they are effective
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Checking output for defects and taking appropriate and corrective action where necessary
  • Regularly reviewing individual processes and the quality system itself for effectiveness
  • Facilitating continual improvement

Benefits of being ISO Certified

Each standard supports its own benefits within every industry, however the common benefits across the certificationsscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-07-59-pminclude: widened market potential, compliance to procurement tenders, improved efficiency and cost savings, higher level of customer service, and therefore satisfaction, and heightened staff moral and motivation.
By having a recognized management standard it allows us  to tell our customers that when it comes to quality and industry standards, we are serious about their needs. CPE is proud to be ISO 9001 certified.

ProtectEar USA works with Custom Protect Ear to ensure the Quality of its products.

Custom Protect Ear has been independently audited and certified to be in conformance with ISO 9001. This certification assures our customers that the quality of the products they currently trust to protect their hearing, will be the same quality they will get every time in the future. In addition to being ISO 9001certified, CPE is a member of AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) and the NHCA (National Hearing Conservation Association).

CPE is also a member of the Acoustical Society of America and serves on the standard setting bodies of the ANSI S12 Committee, Working Group 11, responsible for the standards by which hearing protection is measured, as well as CSA S304 Noise and Vibration Technical Committee responsible for CSA’s set of hearing loss prevention standards Z94.2-02.

Learn more.. 

ISO 9001

Does Your Law Enforcement or Emergency Response Job Expose You to Hearing Loss?

November 21, 2016

Law Enforcement or Emergency Response Job & Hearing Loss

Your job is to help and protect the community in which you live but does your Law Enforcement or Emergency Response job expose you to Hearing Loss? Are you the one who needs help and protection?

If you are in Law Enforcement, First Response teams of Police, Fire Fighting or Ambulance are you exposed to high levels of noise that can cause hearing damage? What steps can you and your governing authorities take to ensure your hearing is protected from on-the-job damaging sounds, sirens and high decibel sounds from weapons related devices?

Firefighters File Lawsuits about Hearing Loss Fire fighter and hearing loss

For more than a decade Firefighters have been filing lawsuits against an Illinois-based company that makes sirens. The claims have centered around the concerns that the company that makes sirens did not do enough to design the fire trucks in a way that would shield the Fire Fighters from sound blasts that reach 120 dB. Noise in the range of 120 dB would be equivalent to the noise from a jackhammer about 3 feet away and can cause pain and according to both OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) & NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) that level is outside of any time length of exposure for hearing safety. In other words, it is at a daily permissible noise level of 0 minutes!

Exposure to noise (Hearing Loss) from Weapons, support vehicles and equipment

What about Law Enforcement, Military, Security or Correctional Officer jobs? Not only are you exposed to noise from the sudden discharge of weapons related devices but you could also be exposed to noise from Helicopters, sirens from emergency support vehicles and equipment. A jet engine at 100 feet can emit 140dB of noise, a Military Jet Aircraft take-off from an aircraft carrier with afterburner at 50 feet can create 150dB of noise, a 12 Gauge Shotgun blast at close quarters can be as high as 165dB!

Military Jet

Personal (Custom) Hearing Protection Devices (HPD’s)

Most Governmental Workers exposed to noise are supplied HPD’s for use on the job. The importance of HPD’s is that they are the correct style of protection for the environment you will be in. You will need a different hearing protection device for the firing range where the focus will be on as much protection from noise as possible with less need for being able to hear commands or instructions. While on-the-job as a Law Enforcement Official in a situation where there is a strong possibility of weapons being fired, you would require a HPD that is instantly attenuated for gun fire but allows for certain necessary sounds to be heard such as interpersonal and radio communications or equipment.

Are you exposed to these high levels of noise on the job? Are you supplied and correctly using a personal hearing protection device that provides you the correct protection throughout your day? Have you been properly trained in its effective use?

Warning signs of hearing loss

Be aware of what the warning signs of hearing loss are. Understand that tinnitus or ringing in the ears may not be the sound of your background environment but may actually be the beginning signs temporary leading to permanent of hearing loss. Hearing loss due to damage is not reversible and in fact may lead to further damage as your loss of hearing may be causing you to turn up the volume of TV’s, music devices or phones. Recognize that hearing loss may also take the form of selective hearing loss of certain frequencies of sound. You may not hear high pitched sounds of a female or child’s voice but still be able to clearly hear the low pitched sound of a man speaking.

Take caution in your job and protect not only the public in your service oriented career but also take care to protect yourself and your valuable asset of hearing. Learn more.. 

Tips To Keep You & Your Ears Safe This Halloween

October 31, 2016

Tips To Keep You & Your Ears Safe This Halloween

With halloween around the corner here are some useful ways to enjoy the evening while keeping you and your ears safe!

 

Bonfires & Fireworks What You Need To Know

If you are planning on attending a bonfire, make sure to enjoy from a distance. Keep well back from where the bonfire and fireworks are being set off. The noise and smoke pollution could irritate a pre-existing hearing condition, including tinnitus.

 

 

Children hearing and safety tips

Give your kids flashlights and apply reflective tape to costumes and treat bags to help pedestrians and drivers see your children.

A child’s hearing is particularly sensitive to loud noise. Protect your child’s hearing from any loud noises particularly during halloween where the noise generated from fireworks and bangers can be similar in decibel range to gunshot blasts. This can cause serious hearing damage, especially in young children up to the age of five, whose hearing is more sensitive than adults.

 

Warm Ears Are Happy Ears

Ear warmers are a staple in any autumn/winter wardrobe, especially when going out and enjoying a long walk through the leaves, but the winter wind is always whipping around and can irritate your ears, so wrap up warm with ear warmers or ear muffs.

Keeping Your Ears Safe Around Fireworks

Noise from exploding fireworks can reach a massive 150-175 decibels! The World Health Organisation recommends that adults not expose themselves to more than 140 dB of peak sound pressure. If you have children, the recommendation for them is 120 dB. Exposure to loud noises such as fireworks can cause tinnitus, hearing loss, or aggravate your existing tinnitus.

If you will be around fireworks this weekend, make sure to wear adequate hearing protection.

 

Everyone loves a party

If you’re hosting a party this Halloween be mindful of friends with hyperacusis, or other hearing problems and barriers that might make it difficult for friends to enjoy the night.

Tip:

  • Have a quiet room at your party for people who want to have a conversation in a quieter environment.
  • Rooms should be well lit so that those who need to lip read can follow the conversation.
  • Don’t play the music too loud, have it a volume that won’t damage your guests hearing. Even those who don’t have hearing related problems.

Pet Friendly Halloween

Pets can be very anxious around this time of year with the loud noises that come with Halloween.

Tip: When fireworks and other loud noises happen suddenly, don’t fuss as your pet may pick up on your anxiety making the problem worse. Reassure your dog vocally with a positive tone when he is frightened. Do not punish the pet when they are scared, this only confirms that there is something to be afraid of. Maybe try to engage your pet in some form of active game.

Cats prefer to be left to cope on their own but make sure they have access to a safe zone they normally like to retreat to, and try to keep your cats in a few days before and after Halloween night. Black cats are especial prone to cruelty-related incidents.


All forms of chocolate especially dark chocolate are dangerous for dogs and cats, so remember to keep it out of their reach. Keep pets confined and away from the door. Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes making lots of noise. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends.

Have a great Halloween weekend, be sure to share your tips with us below or via our social media accounts

 

Canucks For Kids Fund 

September 15, 2016

vancouver_canucks_logo_3956

CPE raises funds for Canucks For Kids Fund (CFKF) through the sale of their Canucks branded dB Blocker™ hearing protectors.

Custom Protect Ear (CPE) will donate $5 to CFKF from every sale of their Canucks-branded dB Blocker™. The Canucks for Kids Fund dedicates resources to assist charities which support children’s health and wellness, foster the development of grassroots hockey, and facilitate and encourage education in British Columbia.

canuck-blockers-webCPE also supplies the Vancouver Canucks with hearing Protectors for use by the Canucks NHL and AHL players and members of their management.

As North America’s largest personalized industrial hearing protector manufacturer, hearing conservation is CPE’s only business. In every workplace, sporting, entertainment or home environment CPE helps protect you from noise induced hearing loss. To get Canucks-branded dB Blockers™ contact us today! 


For more information regarding dB Cares™, or how we both might become better partners in cause related initiatives, call or email us.

We’d love to hear from you.

Last Day of the VPPPA!

August 31, 2016

Today is the Last Day at the VPPPA Conference.VPPPA

Come see us at Booth 1100 

The National Conference offers attendees a chance to acquire valuable knowledge and skills applicable to their worksite and to nurture enduring, mutually-beneficial, professional relationships.

If you want your site to be leader in safety and health, why not learn from those who have already done it? There are more than 100 featured workshops on a variety of safety and health topics, including how to improve your site’s safety culture, how to comply with new or existing OSHA regulations, how to get into and then thrive in VPP and ways to increase employee engagement, to name a few.

The VPPPA national conference is also a great place to meet new people and make long-lasting connections with others in your industry. There are numerous opportunities for networking throughout the conference including a casino night, receptions, meal functions, regional networking meetings and exhibit hall breaks featuring more than 300 exhibitors from across the country.

Conference Highlights at the VPPPA Conference

CAH 6910

  • Join thousands of EHS professionals at the premier safety and health event of the year
  • Experience four days of activities, including more than 100 workshops over three days, 300 exhibitors and numerous networking opportunities
  • Learn about innovative safety and health products to utilize at your worksite
  • Meet others from your region at your chapter meeting
  • Be inspired by nationally-known keynote speakers
  • Participate in multiple contests and win dozens of prizes

If you’re around today, come see us Booth 1100 

 

Hearing Loss on a Farm?

August 15, 2016

When we think of farming we think of peaceful fields, softly lowing animals, the whisper of wind in your ears. The reality though can be just the opposite and hearing loss on a farm can be a devastating side effect of a “not so peaceful” industry.

farm

Damaging effects of noise induced hearing loss

Have you considered the damaging effect of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) that can be caused by exposure to high levels of noise that farmers and agricultural workers may be exposed to?

 

 

 

What about noise such as:

  • Squealing pigs – at a sound level of 100dB. More than 15 minutes of exposure to squealing pigs without hearing protection can start to produce noise induced hearing loss damage.
  • Driving in a tractor or no cab combine at a sound level of 105dB for more than 4 minutes without hearing protection is considered to be a time frame that could produce hearing loss.

Even common equipment used on large properties such as a ride-on lawnmower producing 102dB of sound for more than 9 minutes can cause damage with no hearing protection or a leaf blower at 110dB for more than 1.4 minutes can be the cause of hearing loss damage.

Proper Hearing Protection

Ensuring that you or your workers have proper hearing protection is vital in the prevention of NIHL for farmers and agricultural workers. You may be protected within a well sound proofed cab of a combine machine but what if you open that cab door for more than 4 minutes? Make sure you are protected with the proper hearing protection device for your noise exposure.

You may be wear hearing protection while mowing your lawn but what about your children or young family members who may be outside and exposed to that same sound level? Are you ensuring their hearing protection?

You may find a comfortable pair of ear muffs that block out noise best suited for you. Maybe you also need to be able to hear certain sounds and some noise-cancelling headsets that allow you to still hear non-damaging sounds might be more appropriate for your needs.

4 Steps to protecting your hearing.

 First things first!

  1. The first step to protecting your hearing and the hearing of your workers and family members is to be aware of how quickly damage can take place when you are exposed to dangerously loud noises. Teach your workers and family members the importance of wearing hearing protection devices when they know they will be in an area of exposure.
  2. Second, have your workers, family and yourself screened for hearing loss so that you can assess hearing loss damage that may already have occurred.
    dB Blockers
  3. Investigate which hearing protection devices (HPDs) are best suited for your needs.
  4. USE THEM! Hearing protection devices will only provide protection when used properly and for the appropriate level of exposure.

Now back to that peaceful, easy feeling…on the family farm.

Are Noisy Workplaces Creating More Stress For Workers?

August 9, 2016

Are Noisy Workplaces Creating More Stress For Workers?

In our North American “stressed out” society are noisy workplaces creating more stress for workers spending large portions of their day exposed to high levels of noise? Nearly 30 – 50 Million Americans are exposed to dangerously high levels of workplace noise, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication disorders, NIDCD.
stressed employees

Cara James, executive director of the American Tinnitus Association states that “Workplace noise exposure is a growing national health issue that seriously jeopardizes the long-term well-being of workers and the overall productivity of businesses”.

Read Full Article 


Did You Know?

Custom Protect Ear has an array of hearing products that can help reduce stress and hearing loss in the workplace. Our Flagship product dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, this gives the worker a custom hearing protector (earplug) that they can wear all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation. See how easy it is to wear dB Blocker hearing protection. dB Blockers™ custom molded hearing protectors (earplugs) are made from the Skinsoft™ blend of medical grade silicones, which is as soft and flexible as your own skin.

Solving the Noise Induced Hearing Loss Problem by Asking the Right Questions

July 13, 2016

Solving the Noise Induced Hearing Loss Problem by Asking the Right Questions: Part One of a Two Part Series

By Jeffrey Goldberg

As former U.S. Surgeon General William Stuart once said, “Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience. Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere.

People have known this about noise and its effects on hearing for decades and yet noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) remains epidemic in the workplaces of America. Why? Maybe as Bertrand Russell once noted, “In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Problem: Regulating Noise

nihl

Let’s examine why we haven’t made more progress eliminating NIHL. It starts with the history of noise as an industrial hazard. The history of hazardous noise is well defined. As early as the beginning of the last century, noise was recognized as an industrial hazard.

Though the measure of the noise was difficult to achieve at that time, because it wasn’t accurately measurable, NIHL was recognized but not quantified nor were any limits on exposure set. After a series of studies by the military and military sponsorship of civilian laboratories after World War II through the mid-1960s, 90 A-weighted decibels (dBA) was determined to definitely be a level above which actions to limit exposures were necessary. Therefore, 90 dBA was written into the U.S. Occupational Noise Standard in 1969 as part of the legislation as the permissible exposure limit (PEL). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was directed to develop the rest of the regulation to define the steps necessary to form an effective hearing conservation program.

It is recognized that approximately 25 percent of workers whose daily exposure level (LEX,8h) is above 90 dBA will develop NIHL. Although the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) revised its own recommended exposure limit down from 90 to 85 dBA and further recommended a 3-dB exchange rate instead of the earlier 5-dB exchange rate in the legislation, today the 90 dBA PEL remains in the U.S. OSHA regulation.

Read Full Article here: 

 

Written by Jeffrey Goldberg | Chairman of Protect Ear 

Jeffrey Goldberg | CPE Chairman

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the next article, I’ll suggest some solutions to the NIHL conundrum. Look for the July issue of Workplace Safety for some innovative if scientifically unsupported ideas about solving the NIHL problem.