Happy Halloween! Protect Your Ears!

October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! Protect Your Ears! `

Halloween brings more than just goblins and candy corn, it also brings FIREWORKS… It is very important that parents protect their children’s hearing as well as their own when exposed to LOUD Crackling fireworks.

How Fireworks Affect Hearing

Fireworks produce a sound output that is in the 150 to 175 decibel range. Each year, many people experience some damage to their hearing as a result of fireworks.

There are two things to note when considering whether or not fireworks will have the potential to cause hearing loss. First is the distance a person is from the sound source.  Sound is less likely to affect your hearing the further you are positioned from the firework explosion.

The second thing to consider is how loud the firework actually is. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure. For children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. If you are dealing with a firework that explodes at 170 decibels, you would have to stand 15 to 20 meters away before you are at a safe limit. Children would have to stand 50 to 60 meters away from that same firework. Infants should not be exposed to fireworks because they generally experience the greatest amount of sound pressure.

CPE-Halloween-

Whether you are participating in recreational or professional fireworks, hearing protection is encouraged in both situations.  You could be at risk of having some hearing damage.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

CPE Team


SOURCE: https://www.boystownhospital.org/knowledgeCenter/articles/hearing/

Hearing Loss Prevention in the Food Industry

August 22, 2017

Hearing Loss Prevention in the Food Industry

dB Blocker for Food IndustryBehind that yummy assortment of bakery delights or that wonderfully prepared to go straight to the oven, frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu is an entire assembly of creative chefs and production staff who prepared it for you; production workers who are also exposed to workplace hazards every day. One specifically is industrial hearing loss.

The issue of hearing protection in the food processing industry — and in process industries in general — is somewhat more complex than it is in other industries in that employers must protect workers’ hearing as well as protect the purity of the product.

When it comes to food processing, the highest quality and hygiene standards must be maintained. With people’s lives and the earth’s future at stake, every step must be taken to ensure the welfare of the public and the environment. This puts a lot of pressure on employees to perform at their best, which is why many of your competitors are investing in their worker’s best interests.

Detectable Hearing Protectors

If you are the safety officer at a food processing company, the issue of providing hearing protection that is safe for people and process are not one to be taken lightly. There are two basic approaches to protect food products from stray hearing protectors: the first is to keep the hearing protector from falling into the product in the first place, and the second is to make it easily detectable if it does. Custom Protect Ear, manufacturers of dB Blockers™, has created three options of Metal Detectable dB Blockers that help with both approaches. (dB Blocker™ Metal Detectable (MD) Vented; dB Blocker™ Metal Detectable (MD) Non-Vented; dB Blocker™ Metal Detectable (MD) Communication Ear Piece)

Promoting Quality and Hygiene in the Food Processing Industry

To help your workers adhere to stringent quality and hygiene standards, dB Blockers™ are made of SkinSoft™ medical grade silicone, are hypoallergenic, washable, and nonporous so they don’t breed contaminants. As per food industry standards, the dB Blocker™ MD ear pieces are manufactured to provide for fast detectability in production line screening processes.

Should the ear pieces get misplaced or go missing, they can be easily replaced as the custom ear mold that is taken during the fitting process, is retained on file for five years. dB Blockers™ are custom fit, reusable hearing protection. They are not disposable; making them more cost effective to use than disposables.
With your workers’ hearing properly protected by dB Blockers™, you can rise above these challenges, enabling your workers to perform even more effectively.

“Over the years, CPE has anticipated our needs and far exceeded our expectations. They’re even working on advances to our protectors. They really take the time to understand the challenges we face in our daily operations.” ~ Maidstone Bakeries

dB BLOCKER™ METAL DETECTABLE Vented

 

Metal Detectable

Noise Induced Hearing Loss is a Growing Problem

The bottom line in all this, however, underscores the employers’ need to protect workers’ hearing. Despite the growing awareness of hearing loss and increased efforts to combat it, the incidence of noise induced hearing loss among industrial workers — food processing and otherwise — continues to rise. A recent National Health Interview Survey showed that hearing problems among individuals aged 45-64 years have risen 26% over the past 30 years. This means safety professionals need to not only take into account traditional Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) in providing protective hearing protection but to also consider the human factor which undermines hearing conservation efforts.

Noise Exposure Among Federal Wildland Fire Fighters

August 10, 2017

Noise Exposure Among Federal Wildland Fire Fighters

Posted on  by George Broyles , LCDR Corey Butler, CAPT Chuck Kardous

Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. NIOSH estimates that 22 million U.S. workers encounter noise exposures loud enough to be hazardous.  Wildland fire fighting (vs. urban/ structural fire fighting), aims to suppress grass, brush, or forest fires (see Figure 1).  Wildland fire fighting is considered a high-risk emergency response occupation requiring considerable physical and psychological demands. Wildland fire fighters often work 12 to more than 16 hours per shift for up to 14 consecutive days over a 3- to 9-month period [U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2008].

Figure 1. Wildland fire fighters during various fire suppression activities.

 

Wildland fire fighters often have extreme exposures to many physical agents and occupational hazards [Britton et al., 2013]. Similar to other high-risk occupations, research efforts and occupational safety and health programs have historically focused on identifying and preventing acute injuries and exposures, but less emphasis has been placed on research and prevention programs relating to chronic diseases or injuries such as occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

Although noise exposures and hearing loss among structural fire fighters have been well studied [Hong et al., 2008] and documented [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 2013), wildland fire fighters have not received the same attention, nor have their noise exposures been empirically researched and studied. Wildland fire fighters may be repeatedly exposed to known sources of noise including chainsaws, aircraft, wood chippers, audio equipment, portable pumps and engine pumps, heavy equipment (e.g., bulldozers), and ambient noise from the wildfire itself.

In an effort to address noise exposures within this population, the United States Forest Service, Technology, and Development Program, in partnership with NIOSH, conducted a 3-year study to assess wildland fire fighters’ noise exposures during training and fire suppression tasks and to identify which jobs put these fire fighters at increased risk for NIHL. A recently published paper by USDA and NIOSH researchers on wildland fire fighters [Broyles et al., 2016] in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America reports on the initial results from the study, characterizes the most hazardous noise sources and job tasks based on personal dosimetry measurements, and provides specific and practical recommendations for protecting the hearing health of these fire fighters.

Noise exposure measurements were collected at 10 different fire locations during the 2014–2015 fire seasons. A total of 174 full-shift personal noise dosimetry measurements were conducted on 156 fire fighters in 14 different wildland fire fighting job categories. Overall, 85 of the 174 measurements were above the NIOSH maximum allowable daily dose.  Almost all masticator/chipper operators, pilots, pump operators, leaf blowers, sawyers and swampers, and bulldozer operators had TWAs that exceeded the NIOSH  recommended exposure level (REL) of 85 dBA (masticators/chippers TWAs reaching 105 dBA, sawyers and swampers TWAs reaching 106 dBA, and bulldozer operator TWAs reaching 112 dBA).  Fire fighters exposed to TWA of 105–106 dBA would exceed their maximum daily limit in just 4–5 minutes.  At 112 dBA, a bulldozer operator exceeded 100% noise dose in 56 seconds.  Bulldozer operators received the highest possible daily noise dose, some exceeding the OSHA maximum daily dose by 20-fold and the NIOSH maximum daily dose by 500-fold. It is interesting to note that four of the bulldozer operators had TWAs well below the NIOSH REL, most likely because they operated in a closed or environmental cabs which isolated the bulldozer operator from much of the noise generated from the heavy equipment.  Figure 2 contains the percentage of fire fighters’ personal dosimetry measurements that exceeded the NIOSH REL or the OSHA permissible exposure level (PEL) based on their specific activities or tasks.

Figure 2. Percentage of dosimetry samples exceeding the OSHA PEL and NIOSH REL per work category.

 

On the basis of these study results, wildland fire fighters may be considered at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. To prevent fire fighters from developing a hearing impairment, NIOSH recommends that all wildland fire fighters be enrolled in a hearing conservation program and that fire agencies establish and maintain fire service specific hearing loss prevention programs. In addition, the authors recommend additional studies to examine targeted approaches to mitigate risk among fire fighters with highest exposures.  See the full list of recommendations and read more about the noise exposures of wildland fire fighters in our recent paper: Noise exposure among federal wildland fire fighters.   If you are a wildland fire fighter or you work with wildland firefighters, please share your experiences with our readers.

George Broyles is a Fire and Fuels Project Leader with the Technology and Development Program, USDA Forest Service.

LCDR Corey Butler is an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist with the NIOSH Western States Division.

CAPT Chuck  Kardous is a senior research engineer with the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology.

READ FULL ARTICLE 

 

Personalized Hearing Protection for the Pulp and Paper Industry

July 25, 2017

Personalized Hearing Protection for the Pulp and Paper Industry

Working in the pulp and paper industry, workers are frequently reminded to wear hearing protection and safety glasses. Most manufacturing areas mandate their use, and failure to comply with these rules frequently brings stern warnings or reprimands. Fortunately, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for sight and sound has almost become second nature to most Paper and Pulp plants. However, there are still some plants that have not found a way to enhance a safe workplace by implementing a hearing conservation program. Specializing in personalized hearing protective, ProtectEar USA has helped many manufacturing companies overcome their performance limitations and safety concerns. We start by assessing the noise levels and working conditions each person faces. then we determine the best protectors for the individual and make appropriate recommendations for optimal productivity, protection, and comfort.

Workers Can Protect Their Hearing with Custom Ear Plugs

Do not wait to experience any of these symptoms before you protect your ears with hearing protection. ProtectEar dB Blockers™ custom fit earplugs are more comfortable and offer superior hearing protection to any disposable earplug. However, did you know that they are more cost effective as well?

You can reduce your hearing protection costs by 60% over five years when an entire facility is fit. dB Blockers™ are more comfortable because there is only one way for them to fit and they made for each individual. They also make it easy for workers to communicate with each other because of our proprietary tuned filter that allows users to hear better with the plugs in than if they take them out.

As a Hearing Protection Manufacturer, it is great to see specific sectors like Pulp & Paper Canada take a stock in Noise Induced Hearing Loss. 

Pulp & Paper

Four steps for reducing workplace noise

 By WSPS

The most obvious impact is noise-induced hearing loss but stress, hypertension, poor sleep and mental health, and physical injury due to communications challenges can all be linked to noise exposure.One in five adults aged 19 to 79 already have mild hearing loss or more in at least one ear. Chances are, with time and continued exposure their hearing will worsen. Statistics like these have prompted the Ontario Ministry of Labour to launch an occupational noise initiative. From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 inspectors will be looking at how — and how well — employers are protecting workers from noise.

A noise regulation (381/15) passed in July 2016 says employers must follow a “hierarchy of controls” to protect workers. Under this hierarchy, engineering controls and work practices come before personal protective equipment (PPE), such as earplugs and ear muffs. Engineering solutions are the better option because they control noise everywhere eliminating the reliance on workers to wear protection.

Pulp & Paper

Create your own noise prevention plan with these four steps.

  1. Determine if your workers are exposed to high levels of noise. Be sure to pinpoint the sources of noise and who’s going to be affected where.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment. You can do a rudimentary assessment just by walking around and listening. If you’re looking for preliminary numbers, rent a sound level meter. There are also apps available that can be used as screening tools. Smartphone apps must be used cautiously however and shouldn’t be relied on for complete accuracy. If an app provides a number that hovers around 85dB (the current occupational limit more than eight hours), call in an occupational hygienist to do a proper survey.
  3. Determine the best way to protect employees:• Start with engineering controls. Can you reduce noise at the source or along the path of transmission? Before implementing a control (such as enclosing a machine), check with an expert to ensure you’re not introducing new hazards.• Look at work practices. Could repairs make machines less noisy? Could you adjust schedules to reduce workers’ exposure time or duration, or increase distance from the source?• Consider PPE if other controls are not possible. Select PPE carefully though. Talk to employees about what kind of protection they’d prefer and which is most comfortable. Ensure that workers are trained on care and use, including proper fit, limitations, inspection and maintenance, and most importantly hygiene. Dirty ear plugs can lead to other health issues.

    4. Ensure your controls are working. Implement a surveillance program that includes audiometric testing to make sure people are using hearing protection correctly and not suffering hearing loss.

Hearing Protection in Metal Manufacturing Facilities

Hearing Protection in Metal Manufacturing Facilities

Noise is one of the most common occupational health issues in metal manufacturing/casting facilities. As a manufacturer in North America, staying competitive and profitable at the same time can be very challenging. While you must adhere to regulations designed to keep your workforce safe, some of your foreign competitors don’t, which unfortunately squeezes your margins. So, to keep your factory open and profitable, you need to concentrate on improving productivity.

Custom Protect Ear (CPE) specializes in personalized hearing protection and has helped a number of metal machining and fabricating operations overcome their productivity limitations and hearing health safety concerns.

Metal Machining

Hearing Loss Prevention

According to OSHA, the definition of Noise is unwanted sound. Sound is measured in two ways: by frequency and loudness (intensity). Loudness refers to the sound’s intensity and is measured in decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale. Excessive exposure to noise can produce both temporary and permanent hearing loss.

Permanent hearing loss generally occurs gradually over time. By the time a worker notices a hearing problem, it is usually too late to do anything about the hearing loss. The extent of the hearing loss depends on the noise frequency, intensity and exposure time. High noise levels have other undesirable effects, such as interfering with communication in the workplace. For your workers to stay on top of their game, they need to be able to communicate interpersonally or by radio while remaining protected. Worker safety should be a top priority for everyone, whether they’re monitoring controls, part of the production process or working with machinery.

Machinist and maintenance people need to hear how their machinery sounds to ensure that it is running properly, so they don’t often wear their earplugs correctly. Without the proper ear protection, workers are exposed to hearing damage which ultimately may hinder their ability to detect a machine’s problems before it breaks down, resulting in costly consequences. dB Blockers™ provide workers with effective protection and a safe, audible sound range needed to efficiently perform their job.

Worker Safety in Metal Manufacturing

Often when dirty hands come into contact with ears to adjust hearing protectors, workers develop ear infections.  

dB Blockers™ fit perfectly upon insertion – no need to re-adjust.  Various models of dB Blockers™ are available, highlighted by one style that comes with a convenient handle (The Grip) for clean, easy insertion and removal. dB Blockers™ fit better than muffs for those with glasses or facial hair.

Why workers are choosing dB Blockers

For welders, disposable earplugs are not only inadequate but are also dangerous as they melt, and even burn when hot slag hits them.

Fortunately, dB Blockers™ don’t burn or cause machinery breakdowns by clogging critical systems such as foam disposables earplugs do when carelessly discarded.  dB Blockers™ are not disposable so they won’t end up littering the parking lot.

With workers’ hearing properly protected while wearing dB Blockers™, you can overcome some of the worksite challenges you may be experiencing. This will help your operation toward staying competitive and profitable in the market place.

metal machining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sources:

  • http://www.afsinc.org/files/hearing%20fact%20sheet.pdf
  • http://www.protectear.com/customers/industries-by-sector/
  • Measuring Noise Exposure Loudness is perceived differently at different frequencies. To measure noise levels in a way that most closely resembles how the ear hears sound, most meters have filters that can produce what is called the A-weighted sound level (dB). The A-weighted sound level is the setting that the OSHA noise standard requires for most noise measurements. Two instruments used to measure noise exposure are the sound level meter (SLM) and the noise dosimeter. The SLM measures the intensity of sound at a given moment. When using this instrument, noise level measurements must be taken several times during the workday at the various duties and locations the employee works. The time that the noise remains at each of the various measured levels must be recorded. The average noise level must then be calculated.
  • The SLM is not worn by the worker but is held by someone else taking measurements while following the worker. A dosimeter stores sound level measurements and integrates them over a work shift. The worker wears the dosimeter for the entire sampling time. The read-out is in percent dose or equivalent time weighted-average (TWA) exposure. All noise monitoring instruments should meet applicable American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards (ANSI S1.40, and ANSI S1.25) and be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Meeting these specifications assures the accuracy of the results. Impulse or impact noise is automatically included in the dosimeter measurements by the ANSI standards. A sudden, sharp, isolated sound, such as hitting the side of a sand bin with a sledge hammer, is an example of impact noise.

 

Hearing Protection in Metal Manufacturing Facilities

July 18, 2017

Hearing Protection in Metal Manufacturing Facilities

Noise is one of the most common occupational health issues in metal manufacturing/casting facilities. As a manufacturer in North America, staying competitive and profitable at the same time can be very challenging. While you must adhere to regulations designed to keep your workforce safe, some of your foreign competitors don’t, which unfortunately squeezes your margins. So, to keep your factory open and profitable, you need to concentrate on improving productivity.

Custom Protect Ear (CPE) specializes in personalized hearing protection and has helped a number of metal machining and fabricating operations overcome their productivity limitations and hearing health safety concerns.

Metal Machining

Hearing Loss Prevention

According to OSHA the definition of Noise is unwanted sound. Sound is measured in two ways: by frequency and loudness (intensity). Loudness refers to the sound’s intensity and is measured in decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale. Excessive exposure to noise can produce both temporary and permanent hearing loss.

Permanent hearing loss generally occurs gradually over time. By the time a worker notices a hearing problem, it is usually too late to do anything about the hearing loss. The extent of the hearing loss depends on the noise frequency, intensity and exposure time. High noise levels have other undesirable effects, such as interfering with communication in the workplace. For your workers to stay on top of their game, they need to be able to communicate interpersonally or by radio while remaining protected. Worker safety should be a top priority for everyone, whether they’re monitoring controls, part of the production process or working with machinery.

Machinist and maintenance people need to hear how their machinery sounds to ensure that it is running properly, so they don’t often wear their earplugs correctly. Without the proper ear protection, workers are exposed to hearing damage which ultimately may hinder their ability to detect a machine’s problems before it breaks down, resulting in costly consequences. dB Blockers™ provide workers with effective protection and a safe, audible sound range needed to efficiently perform their job.

Worker Safety in Metal Manufacturing

Often when dirty hands come into contact with ears to adjust hearing protectors, workers develop ear infections.  

dB Blockers™ fit perfectly upon insertion – no need to re-adjust.  Various models of dB Blockers™ are available, highlighted by one style that comes with a convenient handle (The Grip) for clean, easy insertion and removal. dB Blockers™ fit better than muffs for those with glasses or facial hair.

Why workers are choosing dB Blockers

For welders, disposable earplugs are not only inadequate but are also dangerous as they melt, and even burn when hot slag hits them.

Fortunately, dB blockers™ don’t burn or cause machinery breakdowns by clogging critical systems such as foam disposables earplugs do when carelessly discarded.  dB Blockers™ are not disposable so they won’t end up littering the parking lot.

With workers’ hearing properly protected while wearing dB Blockers™, you can overcome some of the worksite challenges you may be experiencing. This will help your operation toward staying competitive and profitable in the market place.

metal machining

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sources:

  • http://www.afsinc.org/files/hearing%20fact%20sheet.pdf
  • http://www.protectear.com/customers/industries-by-sector/
  • Measuring Noise Exposure Loudness is perceived differently at different frequencies. To measure noise levels in a way that most closely resembles how the ear hears sound, most meters have filters that can produce what is called the A-weighted sound level (dB). The A-weighted sound level is the setting that the OSHA noise standard requires for most noise measurements. Two instruments used to measure noise exposure are the sound level meter (SLM) and the noise dosimeter. The SLM measures the intensity of sound at a given moment. When using this instrument, noise level measurements must be taken several times during the workday at the various duties and locations the employee works. The time that the noise remains at each of the various measured levels must be recorded. The average noise level must then be calculated.

 

 

 

The SLM is not worn by the worker, but is held by someone else taking measurements while following the worker. A dosimeter stores sound level measurements and integrates them over a work shift. The worker wears the dosimeter for the entire sampling time. The read-out is in percent dose or equivalent time weighted-average (TWA) exposure. All noise monitoring instruments should meet applicable American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards (ANSI S1.40, and ANSI S1.25) and be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Meeting these specifications assures the accuracy of the results. Impulse or impact noise is automatically included in the dosimeter measurements by the ANSI standards. A sudden, sharp, isolated sound, such as hitting the side of a sand bin with a sledge hammer, is an example of impact noise.

 

Hearing Loss Prevention Beyond the Workplace

July 10, 2017
Industrial Hearing loss

As a Hearing Protection Manufacturer, we as a company are always speaking about Hearing Loss Prevention in the workplace. However, there are also Best Practices for developing a culture of hearing conservation, both at work and at home.

Since OSHA had implemented detailed noise exposure regulations (29 CFR 1910.95), employers and safety professionals have monitored noise levels, posted warning signs, purchased earplugs and routinely tested employees’ hearing. Other activities consisted of training programs for new employees, putting up posters and selected groups to be a part of the product buying process.

Although these activities are conducted to prevent hearing loss, workers are still continuing to suffer noise-induced hearing loss at alarming rates. The cost of noise-induced hearing loss in the United States is now measured in billions (not millions) of dollars annually.

Hearing Loss Prevention plan

Setting up the actual Hearing Loss Prevention plan is easy; the difficult task is getting workers to buy in and engage in the program. In addition, loud noises are not just limited to the workplace. Noise-induced hearing loss can be just as prevalent off the job as on the job, and exposure outside the workplace is often a lot less noticeable.

Build Buy-in on the Hearing Loss Prevention Plan – Educate & Engage beyond the workplace

Beyond employee adherence to safety rules, there are ways to utilize other controls for reducing noise exposure that will impact the worker on and off the job.

Additionally, OSHA offers a list of administrative controls that managers can use to minimize the risk:

  • Operating noisy machines during shifts with the fewest employees exposed
  • Limiting the number of time employees can work near a noise source
  • Providing quiet areas for employees to get a break from the noise
  • Restricting worker presence to a suitable distance away from a noise source
  • Establishing a hearing conservation program (required at sites exceeding the PEL)
  • Hold informative workshops on the importance of Hearing Loss Prevention on and off the job.

Some of these suggestions may be more feasible at your work site than others, so take advantage of those that you can logistically implement. Encourage employee participation in this process as well, because they tend to have the greatest exposure to noise, and thus may have insights for improving hearing protection. Many incidents of hearing loss from occupational noise exposure are preventable, and because completely eliminating the noise at work is often not an option, companies must take every measure possible to minimize its effects.

To learn how a Proper Safety plan is executed please check out our previous post: A Proper Executed Safety Program


Sources

http://www.selectinternational

How is sound measured?

June 20, 2017

How is sound measured?

Sound energy travels in waves and is measured in frequency and amplitude.

Amplitude measures how forceful the wave is. It is measured on a Logarithmic scale and reported[1] in decibels or dBA of sound pressure. 0 dBA is the softest level that a person can hear. Normal speaking voices are around 65 dBA. A rock concert can reach about 120 dBA but is often at 100 dB.

Sounds that are 82[2] dBA or above can permanently damage your ears when exposed for a long period of time. The more sound pressure a sound has, the less time it takes to cause damage. For example, a sound at 85 dBA may take as long at 8 hours to cause permanent damage, while a sound at 97 dBA can start damaging hair cells after only 30 minutes of listening.

Frequency is measured in the number of sound vibrations in one second. A healthy ear can hear sounds of very low frequency, 20 Hertz (or 20 cycles per second), to a very high frequency of 20,000 Hertz. The lowest A key on the piano is 27 Hertz. The middle C key on a piano creates a 262 Hertz tone. The highest key on the piano is 4186 Hertz.

Sound Measurement Scenario

Have you even been in a noisy factory and had to cover your ears?

Walked past a jackhammer in the street and winced because the sound was so loud? Being exposed to loud noises for a brief period usually does no harm, but imagine having to suffer it hour upon hour, day after day. Noise that can damage your ears is referred to as “Toxic Noise”. A reliable way to determine if you have Toxic Noise is to stand 1 meter or 1 yard from someone. If they can’t understand you when speaking at a normal conversational level, you have an indicator that you have Toxic Noise. Once you determine you have Toxic Noise, the first thing you need to do is measure how loud it is so you can take effective steps to reduce it.

Making precise measurements of noise used to be quite a tricky business, but now there are automated, electronic sound-level meters that do the job for you.

What makes one sound louder than another?

How loud a sound seems to depend on who’s listening. A young person playing rock up in their bedroom might not think their music is loud, but their parents in the room down below might have other ideas. In other words, how loud things seem is a subjective thing and not something we can easily measure. However, what makes one sound seem louder than another is the amount of energy that the source of the sound is pumping towards the listener in the form of pressure variations in the air. That’s the intensity of the sound.

Meters that measure sound levels work by calculating the pressure of the sound waves traveling through the air from a source of the noise. That’s why you’ll sometimes see them referred to as sound pressure level (SPL) meters. Devices like this give a measurement of sound intensity in units called decibels as we mentioned before. Telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell first devised this scale.

Below check out the sound odometer and the intensity of various sounds.

Sound-ODO

If you think you have toxic noise, and you want help measuring it, contact (in the U.S. hearus@protectear.com and in Canada contact hear@protectear.com ).

Sources

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/sound.html


[1] Because the scale is Logarithmic the difference between 10 decibels and 11 decibels is 10x the sound power just like the Richter scale for measuring the intensity of earthquakes.

[2] A European study showed exposures of up to 82 dB resulted in the same hearing loss as the general non-noise-exposed population. At 85 dB the noise-exposed population experiences twice the regular population’s level of hearing loss.

Think of the environment when selecting your hearing protection device

May 23, 2017

Think of the environment when selecting your hearing protection device

Hearing environment

It is not disputed that earplugs protect the wearer from the noise exposure in an industrial, musical, sports and motorsport setting. The single-use disposable earplug remains the most common type of hearing protection in use today. In fact, disposable hearing protection is still commonly used in workplaces despite them being commercially introduced as the first foam disposable earplugs over 40 years ago.

Single-use disposable ear plugs remain popular because they’re perceived to be inexpensive -although they are not. Disposables are not cheap when compared to use over the expected lifetime of a custom moulded earplug.

Disposables vs Earplugs – Cost Scenario 1

Allowing for 2 breaks and lunch, the user of disposable earplugs will use 4 pair per day. (Disposable hearing protection should never be reinserted once removed).  When allowing for bulk buying, generally earplugs can be purchased for about 15¢ per pair.

REAL COST BREAKDOWN

Use of 4 pair of earplugs per day for 5 days per week for 50 weeks per year brings the cost to $150.00 per employee. A pair of custom-moulded earplugs costing $150 with an expected use life of five years, amortizes to $35.00 per year

  • 4 disposable earplugs/day  X 15¢/pair for 50 weeks/year = $150.00 per employee/year
  • 1 pair of custom earplugs is generally less than $150.00 for the expected 5 year life of the earplugs (the cartilage in our ears continues to change throughout our lifetime and subtle changes can affect the seal of the protectors over time, therefore it is recommended that new moulds be taken minimally every 5 years).
  • Disposable earplugs @ $150.00/year for 5 years = DO THE MATH! ($750.00 per 1 employee vs $150.00 for custom earplugs per employee every 5 years) 

Ear Plugs contribute to waste production and landfill

Along with the REAL COST, the other unfortunate and negative aspects of single-use earplugs are – they contribute to waste production and landfill.

It is no secret that there is a shortage of landfills across North America; plus many companies including Custom Protect Ear (CPE), are trying to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable practices and producing ecofriendly products to eliminate waste. Our company, CPE, is committed to becoming more sustainable by working to eliminate or offset any adverse effects our business may have on the planet.

Some of the programs we initiated are:

  • Reducing energy consumption and by purchasing strictly green power: generated from renewable resources.
  • Reducing landfill waste by making hearing protectors with a 5 year life span and by reusing, recycling or reclaiming waste materials whenever we can.
  • Making all marketing materials available in digital formats that can be supplied over the internet; and when printed, only on post-consumer papers with environmentally sensitive inks.
  • Refining our production processes to engineer out any adverse effects on the environment.

Ear Plug Environmental Scenario

Consider a typical industrial workplace in the US

The company has 200 workers within a mandatory hearing protection zone and each employee has access to disposable earplugs.  Each employee works 250 days per year. Each worker wears one disposable pair of earplugs for the morning shift and a new pair after lunch; so let’s factor 2 pairs of disposables per work day. (*We use 2 as an average, however, the numbers of disposable plugs may vary by worker in a day) Disposable Ear Plugs

If you do the math at a 100% conformance, that is a staggering 100,000 pairs of used earplugs that are being sent to the landfill by this one company each year. Within 5 years, the company will send one million single non-biodegradable earplugs to the landfill; a problem that is further compounded when you also consider that most earplugs are packaged in a box or provided in additional individual plastic wrappers.

The earplug itself is unlikely to be biodegradable and the actual amount of landfill created by one employee wearing two pairs a day during their employment is staggering; times this by the number of employees and the number of businesses within the US and the financial cost increases and the environmental impact becomes apparent.

Solution: Custom Moulded Hearing Protection

Fortunately, there is a solution that reduces waste, saves money and retains the required level of protection. The solution is dB Blockers™.  dB Blockers™ are a custom moulded hearing protector that is manufactured by Custom Protect Ear.

dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, providing the worker with a custom hearing protector (earplug) that can be worn all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation.

dB Blockers™ vs. Disposable Plugs

  • dB Blockers™ are fit to each employee’s ear exactly – eliminating ear pressure and discomfort
  • Enhanced communication in noise on the phone or in conversation
  • Allows the employee to hear warning sounds
  • Manufactured with SkinSoft™ hypoallergenic, non-flammable silicone

Learn more about dB Blockers

So, before you run out to buy those disposables or log in to your safety supplier or Amazon account, think again. It’s not just about the immediate need; it’s about making a decision that impacts the environment. Do you know how much it is actually costing your company? Learn more> 


SOURCES:

https://www.audiologyinnovations.ca/custom-earplugs/the-benefits-of-custom-moulded-earplugs/

http://www.soundguard.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/The-toxic-truth-about-disposable-earplugs.pdf

 

5 things to consider when choosing a Hearing Protection Device Vendor

May 16, 2017

WHAT 5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A HEARING PROTECTION DEVICE VENDOR

Some of you may not know that when choosing a Hearing Protection Device (HPD) for your company, there is more than “a good product” to look for when selecting a hearing device for your workforce.

According to CCOHS & OHS-

People should wear a hearing protector if the noise or sound level at the workplace exceeds 85 decibels (A-weighted) or dB (A). Hearing protectors reduce the noise exposure level and the risk of hearing loss.

If hearing protection is required, then a complete Hearing Loss Prevention Program should be instituted. A Hearing Loss Prevention Program includes noise assessment, hearing protection selection, employee training and education, audiometric testing, maintenance, inspection, record keeping, and program evaluation.

The effectiveness of hearing protection is reduced greatly if the hearing protectors do not fit properly or if they are worn only part time during periods of noise exposure. To maintain their effectiveness, they should not be modified.

Remember, radio headsets are not substitutes for hearing protectors and should not be worn where hearing protectors are required to protect against exposure to noise.

When selecting a hearing protection provider, we have highlighted 5 elements to look for. This will directly impact during the process:

You should ask yourself of the following,

Does the Vendor:

  1. Meet the standard requirements?
  2. Highlight the quality of the product?
  3. Have Customer and After Sales service?
  4. Meet the comfort and wear requirements?
  5. Have a Warranty and Product Guarantee?

1. Standards and Requirements When Choosing HPD’s

USA Hearing Protection Standard

The standard most recognized in the US market is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The Hearing Protection Standards outline noise safety steps when noise cannot be sufficiently reduced through engineering. The Current Standard is ANSI/S12.6-2016; Methods for Measuring the Real-Ear Attenuation of Hearing Protectors. This standard specifies laboratory-based procedures for measuring, analyzing, and reporting the passive noise-reducing capabilities of hearing protectors. More Standards found here.

Canadian Hearing Protection Standard

The Canadian Standard Association (CSA) standard on Hearing Protection is the CSA Z94.2 – Hearing Protection Devices legislation. This new version of the standard meshes more closely with US approaches, recognizing the reality of how closely our two economies are entwined and provides more guidance to health and safety professionals needing reliable information on how to select hearing protection. It should become the new standard for due diligence in selecting and using hearing protection in Canada.

The Measurement Standards includes the following criteria:

  • Attenuation – (difference of SLs (sensation levels)at the threshold with and without protectors)
  • Comfort – No standard as of yet
  • Insertion loss (not the same) ( the difference between levels inside and outside of the ATF-Acoustic Test Fixture).

More on Standards 

2. Quality of Product

When it comes to Hearing Protection Devices there are ample products out in the market that range from ear muffs,disposables to custom hearing protection. However, when it comes to quality it is important to look at two elements; 1. adequate protection and 2. communication safety. When it comes to hearing protection, not all devices are created equally.

Just like one size fits all work boots are probably not the best choice, neither is one size fits all hearing protection. Every human ear is unique in size, shape, and depth. Therefore it makes sense that for hearing protection to be the most effective, as well as the most comfortable, it must be custom fit.

Knowing the fitting process helps determine the adequacy of the product. For Custom Protect Hearing, the fitting process usually takes about 10 minutes and typically begins with one of their highly trained and certified experts visiting the customer’s plant or workplace in order to do the fitting on-site.

To begin, the ear is inspected to make sure it is safe to take an impression.

Then an oto-dam is placed inside the ear to protect the eardrum. Impression material is prepared and carefully injected into the client’s ear (up to the depth of the oto-dam). The material hardens quickly, and moments later, the impression is gently removed. The impression creates an exact replica of the wearer’s ear canal and outer ear.

This ensures the custom hearing protector seals the ear both in the canal and around the ear.

And for interpersonal communication purposes, the proprietary frequency tuned filter allows communication without removing the HPD. People can communicate in noise more effectively while wearing their dB Blocker™ hearing protection, than if they were to remove them. Your Hearing Loss Prevention Program will not interfere with productivity, rather it will enhance it. This process uses a custom hearing device called the dB Blocker™.

3. Customer and After Service

When it comes to customer service – it is important to be able to speak with someone who can answer all your questions and eliminate roadblocks. Having a live person you can connect with is important to the HPD buying experience.  Besides going through the actual sales process some things you can check out on the company are:

  • What are their Corporate Values?
  • What is the process to handle Product Replacements and Returns?
  • Is there a 1-800 number you can call?
  • Are there forms you can fill out to order additional hpd’s on their website?

4. Comfort & Wear

It is always good to look for guarantees for Fit and Comfort.  When it comes todB Blocker

custom HPD’s, fit and comfort are crucial to the wearer’s experience. Is there any type of FIT Warranty that allows for the individual to ensure the earpiece fits and seals properly? A FIT Warranty (guaranteeing comfort and wear) is particularly important to a Hearing Loss Prevention Program as it is one of the things that ensures compliance and that the individual will wear the HPD, thereby decreasing any type of liability or workplace harm.

5. Warranty & Product Guarantee

Purchasing HPD’s are an investment in your employee’s health and safety, so it is important that you get the customer service and after care service with your investment. A few things to look for:

  1. How many years is the product warranted for?
  2. Generally, custom HPD’s have a 1-3 year material warranty from the date of manufacture. Does it cover any tearing, cracking, or splitting of one or both earpieces?
  3. The warranty claim process should be easy. Ideally, when dealing with a warranty issue – you should be able to call and deal with a real person who can walk you through the claim process.

By going through these 5 steps when selecting an HPD manufacturer, it will make your life easier, and remove any concerns when it comes to protecting your employees hearing.

To learn more about selecting an HPD vendor please contact us, and one of our representatives will be able to answer all of your questions.