DRIL-COM – A new way for evaluating hearing protectors

January 11, 2017

DRIL-COM – A new way for evaluating hearing protectors

When trying to determine whether a hearing protection device (HPD) can be effective for use in a given noisy environment, the conventional method has been to examine attenuation using SNR(SF84), its NRR(SF), or its derated NRR. Going to extremes, the individual mean octave-band attenuation values might be compared to the octave-band levels of the noise of concern to determine what the Assumed Protective Value (APV) might be with some allowance for the reported standard deviations of the attenuations.

All of these values will shed light on how effective the HPD should be in reducing potentially harmful noise to a safe level under the HPD. However, none of these values shed any light on how useable the HPD is in allowing the wearer to maintain environmental awareness. In construction, in  manufacturing, and in the military, being aware of what’s happening in the surrounding areas can be as important to personal safety as the HPD is to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Historically, when those who are supposed to use HPDs are asked why they don’t or won’t, the rank ordering of reasons is:

  • Interference with their ability to hear speech of other workers or team members;
  • Inability to hearing warning signals;
  • Inability to hear what is going on around them;
  • Inability hear the equipment that they are using; and
  • Comfort, or lack of it including heat buildup for earmuffs.

Those top five reasons can be lumped into one category:

Reduction of necessary auditory awareness.

For the military, auditory awareness is critical for troops in combat. Each soldier or marine leaving for a combat zone is issued, at present, the 4th generation of the so-call . It is a multi-flanged, premolded earplug with a passage through its center that passes through an acoustic filter that is supposed to have little effect for sound levels below 120 dB SPL and then increase in attenuation as the sound level increases.

combat ear plugs

The technical label for this technology is non-linear passive level-dependent. This technology has been around for decades and was first developed and tested by ISL in France. Ideally, an HPD such as the Combat Arms earplug would have no effect on auditory awareness for most signals.

Similarly, there are HPDs that are powered, either by their own battery or from a battery pack worn by the user that powers the HPD as well as other equipment. The technical term for theses HPDs is non-linear active level-dependent. The word “active” applies to the use of a powered electric circuit that passes all sound from the outside world into the ear of the wearer and then adjusts its gain or volume as the level of the outside sound increases until cutting off. Once cut off, the wearer experiences the full passive attenuation that the HPD provides. These types of devices are very popular among shooters and hunters in non-military applications. It is presently unclear about their deployment for military use.


DRIL -COM – The Research Case Study

Dr. John Casali at Virginia Tech University (VTU) has been a strong proponent of the importance of the auditory awareness effects of HPDs. There are reported incidences every year of workers who are hurt by equipment because their auditory awareness was impaired by the HPD they were wearing. These accidents include being run over by fork lifts, being run into by robotic parts delivery vehicles, and being hit by moving materials, such as delivered by crane at construction sites. All due to an HPD-induced inability to hear the necessary auditory cues that would have allowed them warning to get out of the way. For the soldier in combat who is using an HPD, the inability to clearly hear the approaching of what could be enemy personal, to hear the bolt noise from a rifle or the sliding in of an ammunition magazine, or even to hear the retort of a weapon fired at a distance can be life and mission endangering.

After years of work on auditory awareness issues for the larger employment universe, Dr. Casali focused on setting up a proof-of-concept project to show how to determine the effect of HPDs on auditory awareness. The method was given the name DRIL-COM, with each of the letters in the first word having meaning:

  • D – Detection.
    • The ability of the HPD user to even detect the presence of a sound either in quiet, in the presence of low-level background noise, or the presence of high-level background noise.
  • R/I –
    • Recognition/Identification. The ability to determine what made the sound. The reaction to a friendly sound should be different that the reaction to an unfriendly sound. Consider the swishing of reeds against each other as one fellow soldier returns from the latrine verses the sound of a magazine being slipped into an AK-47 by an unfriendly. Once a sound is detected, it must be recognized correctly and quickly.
  • L- Localization.
    • The last step of DRIL is localization, the ability to quickly determine the direction from which the sound came. In the case of a worker trying to avoid being run over, it’s ­important to know from where the sound of the approaching vehicle came. For the soldier, it’s important to know from where came the sound of the magazine being slipped into a weapon before break out of a fire fight.
  • COM – Communications.
    • Though not a letter, it is just as important. Each HPD has its own impact on communication, particularly in the presence of background noise. The COM portion of DRIL-COM evaluates that.

How was DRIL-COM administered?

In a large space to be as acoustically dead as possible so that all signals generated by the system could arrive at the listener without dealing with room reflections.  Further, the technique was administered computer software and electronics. However, nothing was so specialized that it couldn’t be easily replicated by another laboratory; it is not ready for field deployment just yet.

The HPDs tested were:

3M 4th Generation Combat Arms™ earplug in the open setting, INVISIO X50™, Nacre-Honeywell Quiet Pro+™, Peltor Con Tac III™, Etymotic EB15LE™. Performance for all the HPDs was compared to ears open with no HPD.

What the results showed, in general, was that there was no HPD that was as effective in all the DRIL-COM categories as the open, unprotected ear. While each HPD provided some degree of protection from noise, none allowed the critical elements of auditory awareness to be as effectively managed as ears open with no HPD. Unfortunately, soldiers appear to have figured this out for themselves. Of those going into combat in Afghanistan who were issued the Combat Arms earplug, 30% have come back with NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss)  that they did not have upon deployment BECAUSE THEY DID NOT USE the earplugs as they needed to maintain auditory awareness.

Of interest was the final combined ranking of the tested HPDS in the DRIL-COM testing. Worse were the Combat Arms earplug, the Quiet Pro max and the Quiet Pro when set to unity gain. Max is when the gain of the HPD is set to full on, which is possible with active non-linear HPDs. Unity gain means that the sound level outside the HPD is the same as inside.  These three HPDs (settings) were statistically significantly worse than all the other HPDs tested in all conditions. Following, and statistically different from ears open but not from each other, were Com Tac III unity, Com Tac III max, X50 unity, X50 max, EB15LE unity, and EB15LE max.

So, what’s the take away message from the DRIL-COM tests.

First is that there is a method that can be deployed to determine the impact of an HPD on auditory awareness. It is not a method that an end user can deploy easily, but it is one that a testing laboratory or manufacturer could set up and run and then assign a number for auditory awareness to their product. Further, manufacturers could work to make sure that their HPDs have as little impact on auditory awareness as possible.

“This is why only dB Blockers double-vent their protectors when connecting a radio to them”.

Clearly, for the worker who needs 25 dB of protection this may not be important or possible. But, since most workers need 15 dB or less of protection in most situations, and in some need none but work in fluctuating noise levels, auditory awareness may become more important in selecting an HPD than mere attenuation.

Second, at present, almost anything that is stuck in the ear or placed over it tends to interfere with auditory awareness. Prior to the late 1970s the pinna (outer ear) was thought to be a vestigial organ. It sits on the side of the head, it is immobile, and best for holding eyeglasses aear2nd decorating with earrings. But it proved to not be case. The pinna is a critical organ for auditory awareness.

It allows the listener to locate origins of sounds in space, it enhances high-frequency hearing, and the central auditory system has learned how to use it. No two pinnae are quite alike, however, and so it is difficult to develop a universal surrogate that can be incorporated into an HPD.

Case in point is the Combat Arms earplug.

In its open condition, it is simply a tube with a small filter in in that is not supposed to effect low-levels of incoming sound. At face value, it would seem to be the best solution. But the DRIL-COM testing showed it to be the composite worst. Its alternation of the pinna’s acoustics, even though the HPD was deeply inserted.  On the other hand, the EB15LEE, which is an active earplug, seemed to be the least destructive in both its unity and max settings. It is a digital processing system that might be further taxed to calculate the harm it has caused ear acoustics simply by its insertion and then develop a new algorithm to make the EB15LE effectively acoustically invisible. That type of protector could take into account the natural acoustics of the pinna and further undo its deleterious effects until it was neutral in both of its setting, unity and max.

For a passive non-linear HPD to be effective in terms of auditory awareness, it would have to be deeply inserted so that is outer surface was inside the ear canal, much like and completely-in-the-ear canal (CIC) hearing aid, but then it would be difficult to use in both the open and closed settings as the Combat Arms earplug is. There is possibly a solution available, but it would need to be submitted to a DRIL-COM test protocol to prove it.


READ MORE ABOUT THE DRILCOM REPORT 

Whitepaper

ABSTRACT

The Virginia Tech Auditory Systems Laboratory (ASL) research effort for the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence was aimed at the development of an efficient, in- laboratory implementable test battery for auditory situation awareness (ASA) that objectively quantified the ASA performance afforded by various Tactical Communications and Protection Systems (TCAPS) and augmented/advanced Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) used by the U.S. military. Specifically, each of the fundamental ASA task elements of Detection, Recognition/Identification, Localization, and COMmunications, hereafter termed “DRILCOM” ASA elements, was measured in the psychophysical test battery that was the primary deliverable from the research. The individual ASA elements’ scores from the test battery were kept separate so that performance on each element of ASA could be ascertained, and via statistical analysis, the individual elements’ sets of scores were applied to determine the DRILCOM test battery’s effectiveness in measuring ASA afforded by each TCAPS or augmented HPD. The intent was that the test battery would ultimately be deployable in a military audiology clinical or other similar laboratory setting, and applicable to a wide variety of TCAPS and HPDs.

Modifying Your Work Environments for Safe Noise Exposure

November 30, 2016

Modifying Your Work Environments for Safe Noise Exposure

As an Owner or Employee who oversees your workplace environment for safety, have you also investigated how you can reduce hazardous noise in those work environments? What are some ways you can effectively modify your work environments for safe noise exposure?

The 1st Step should be understanding the impact noise exposure has on your workers, staff and visitors entering the workplace area.

Beside considering the noise exposure of your associates and the potential noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), consider the effect noise has on their stress and therefore their safety.  Recognizing the high impact that noise will have on many different levels to your workers can help you introduce the correct measures and the degree of importance to ensure these measures are introduced and what time frames they are introduced in.

What are your regulatory levels for noise safety levels?

Understanding accurately your regulatory levels and reporting requirements will allow your enhanced compliance and safety for your workers. What are your company standards for noise safety levels? Do you plan to exceed the regulatory recommendations and provide even safer levels? Do you also factor in the time exposure as safety levels are set in accordance with the amounts of time exposure permitted at certain levels? Do you have an accurate time clock practice to ensure that workers on longer shifts or shifts that may overlap 24 hour periods are still falling within the safety parameters? Do you also have a way to determine the exposure of visitors or workers who travel within different areas of noise exposure?

Assessing your work environments.Hearing conservation

Assessing your various work environments from many factors will ensure a much more accurate safety level. Assessing:

  1. Your current machinery and other equipment used for their sound levels.
  2. What new modifications exist or can be created for your current machinery or equipment?
  3. What new equipment is available on the market that may impact your decision to possibly replace equipment?
  4. Your worker’s exposure to noise – are there other options such as physical sound barriers that could be implemented in certain work areas?
  5. How you measure noise levels – are noise levels being correctly determined by the noise measuring tools you use and are you correctly measuring under differing conditions that may impact how those noise levels are recorded?
  6. The possibility of isolating a noise source to an area that will limit the amount of people exposed to that noise.
  7. Regular maintenance and check up of equipment and machinery to eliminate or diminish noise based on improperly functioning equipment.
  8. The work area where the noise takes place. Is this an enclosed area that may need or be able to have sound muffling measures added? Is this an open area where sound may travel with less precision or under differing weather or environmental conditions? For example, working on a road crew in an area that has cliffs or in a valley setting where noise can boomerang and creating even higher noise levels vs a stretch of road that is open and flat may produce very different levels of noise exposure to your workers.
  9. Your warning postings in areas of high levels of noise or warning posting devices if machinery is turned on that suddenly creates a new level of noise.

Assessing your training and compliance of your workers in high noise levels areas. Below are some key questions regarding noise exposure. hearing protection

  • Do your workers understand the concerns to their hearing health from NIHL?
  • Have they been supplied the proper information to protect their hearing while on the job?
  • If they use personal hearing protection devices, are they properly fitted and appropriate for the noise levels they may be exposed to? Are they being worn?
  • Does your company supply frequent assessments of both the workers hearing and the protection device they wear? Does your company provide your workers the appropriate device for their personal use?

 

There are many ways that you can ensure and increase the noise safety in your workplace environment creating a win-win environment for all. Learn more about personal hearing protection and Fit Check Training. 

 

CPE is ISO 9001 Certified

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.. 

Can Concert or Stadium Arena noise be cause for hearing concerns?

November 8, 2016

Can Concert or Stadium Arena noise be cause for hearing concerns?

Enjoying your favourite music concert may be putting your hearing at risk!

Are you aware of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)?

For many of us, we do not fully understand the concern of being exposed to loud noises. Intuitively we will cover our ears or “cringe” when a loud noise interrupts us but what happens when we put ourselves in potential “harms way”? What happens when we head off for an enjoyable night out at our favourite music bands concert? What happens when we head into an arena packed full of boisterously cheering fans for a fun time supporting our favourite sports team? Can concert or stadium arena noise be cause for hearing concerns?

Did you know? Concert Hearing Concerns

Did you know that Rock concert speakers have been measured at 110 – 140dB – loud enough to cause human pain or even rupture eardrums? This is not limited to “Rock” concerts but even the amplified noise of a “quieter” band has been measured in the range of 90 – 110dB or higher. Stadium crowd noise can even reach 130 dB. So, what do those decibel levels translate to when we are discussing noise induced hearing loss – NIHL?

concert

 

Noise levels above 140 dB are not considered safe for any period of time, however brief. For children, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no exposure above 120 dB.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health suggests even lower levels. The NIOSH daily permissible noise level exposure for sound levels at:

  • 85dBA is 8 hours per day,
  • 90dBA is 2 hours per day,
  • 94dBA is 1 hour per day,
  • 97dBA is 0.5 hour per day,
  • 100dBA id 0.25 hour per day or less,
  • Over 112dBA is 0.

According to these suggestions a concert or stadium arena setting with noise levels above 112dBA would not be tolerated at all without concern for hearing loss!

Some professional singers have expressed their concern over hearing loss and are being proactive in protecting their hearing. Performers such as “Sting” and Chris Botti are also reaching out to inform people of the concern for protecting hearing. Read more…

“I hope that with The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary as a partner, Chris Botti and I are able to remind people of the critical need to protect their hearing,” says Sting, who narrated a Public Service Announcement (PSA) released by The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary

SEE MORE CELEBRITY PROTECT EAR WEARERS. 

How may concert goers are heeding this warning about Hearing Loss?

We want to enjoy our concerts and stadium arenas so what are some options to protect our hearing?

Some concert promoters have now started to offer earplugs for sale during performances as public awareness to the problem of NIHL grows. As public awareness grows so does the need for Concert Promoters and Arena Managers to protect their ticket holders from noise induced harm and themselves from possible legal action.

To get top enjoyment and hearing protection at the same time you may want to investigate types of hearing protection that filters noise so that you can still hear conversations and enjoy the music or activity you came to be a part of.

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.