Work Related Hearing Loss in the Manufacturing Industry

June 5, 2012

Manufacturing Industry Hearing LossWhen trying to protect their hearing, are you solving the wrong problem? According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noises each year. The CDC reports that in 2007, “82% of the cases involving occupational hearing loss were reported among workers in the manufacturing sector.” That’s 8 out of every 10 workers who are employed in the manufacturing industry. In fact, hearing loss is the most common form of work-related injury reported in the manufacturing sector according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It seems that what most are doing isn’t working.

Most work related hearing loss occurs gradually in the first ten years of employment in a manufacturing environment. That means that many new employees won’t even think about protecting their hearing until they are required to. Because the damage is done slowly over time, the worker will not notice a problem until methods of prevention are too late. Even when a manufacturing plant takes the necessary steps to engineer out the noise, hearing protection like Custom Protect Ear’s dB Blockers is still needed to prevent noise induced hearing loss. So, if companies are providing hearing protection, why do we still have the problem? Let’s start by looking at the noise sources.

Where’s the Noise Coming From?

What’s causing all the noise? In the manufacturing industry, nearly every procedure produces enough noise to cause hearing loss over time. For example, the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive bureau lists the following processes in the food and drink manufacturing industries as high noise emitters:

1. Glass bottling lines: 85-100dB(A)
2. Product impact on hoppers: 90-100dB(A)
3. Wrapping, cutting wrap, bagging etc.: 85-95dB(A)
4. Bowl choppers: > 90db(A)
5. Pneumatic noise and compressed air: 85-95dB(A)
6. Milling operations: 85-100dB(A)
7. Saws/cutting machinery: 85-107dB(A)
8. Blast chillers/freezers: 85-107dB(A)
9. Packaging machinery: 85-95dB(A)
10. Wheeled trolleys/racks: up to 107dB(A) (from wheel bearings)

So what’s not working?

The fly in the ointment is communication. From the dawn of mankind, our ears have been the primary source of safety for the human. That’s the reason we have no “ear lids”. We can never turn our hearing off. And it is a good thing too. Hearing detects in all the hazards, in all directions in three dimensional space, whether were awake or asleep. To protect our hearing by disabling it, flies in the face of this fact. So workers enable their hearing by disabling their protection. And it is not just the worker who suffers.

Everyone Loses with Hearing Loss

The toll of occupational hearing loss isn’t just felt by the workers. It’s also a financial burden on the manufacturer. Hearing loss is a valid form of workers compensation, and if an individual can prove that he or she suffers from occupational related hearing loss from long-time noise exposure in the workplace, the business will have to pay a costly settlement. How much? In the United States, an estimated $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability. The bottom line: When an employee suffers occupational hearing loss, everyone loses. That does NOT include the value of the knowledge the worker with hearing loss possess that is less able to be accessed because communication is so difficult.

Prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Stop occupational noise induced hearing loss before it stops you. If you are an owner or manager of a manufacturing company, whether big or small, protect your best assets – your workers – by sound proofing your workplace and providing workplace hearing protection they can hear through to your employees. If you are an employee, educate yourself on the dangers of manufacturing noise and insist on personalized, dB Blocker hearing protection you can hear through to prevent further hearing damage.

 

NAOSH WEEK: Safety & Health

May 8, 2012

Custom Protect Ear’s contribution to NAOSH WEEK: Safety & Health

“If I told you it was NAOSH week, would youNaosh Week

  • – Find a NAOSH and hug them.
  • – Send money to the save the NAOSH Fund
  • – Demand a public inquiry into why NAOSH aren’t fairly treated.”

What is NAOSH Week

NAOSH, North American Occupational Safety and Health Week is a continent wide event focusing attention on workplace health and safety and involving USA, Canada, and Mexico. Many companies in participate in NAOSH week by bringing in speakers to discuss workplace safety, set up awareness campaigns with posters and contests, host a public symposium on health and safety issues in the community, work with a local businesses etc. Click here to see more NAOSH events. 

The purpose of the event is to highlight public, government and industry importance of increasing knowledge, raising awareness and reducing injuries and illness in the workplace, home and community. NAOSH Week is led by Threads of Life, in concert with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and partners in Mexico, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and

Custom Protect Ear’s involvement to NAOSH WEEK

Custom Protect Ear (CPE), also a member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), is North America’s largest personalized industrial hearing protector manufacturer, making hearing conservation is their only business. Custom Protect Ear serves over 4,500 companies and businesses around the globe. Their ISO certified Technicians do custom on-site fittings at their industrial sites. CPE’s mission is to be known as the “hearing conservation specialists” promoting hearing protection and hearing conservation in the workplace, community and at home.

The goal of the North American Occupational Safety & Health (NAOSH) Week is to focus the attention of employers, employees, the general public and all partners in occupational safety and health on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community.

CPE will contribute to the awareness campaign on occupational safety and health by striving to:

  • 1. Increase understanding of the benefits of investment in implementing hearing conservation programs in the workplace.
  • 2. Raise awareness of the long term effects that hearing loss can have on an individual during their time in a noise exposed environment.
  • 3. Educate and raise awareness to the health and safety professionals about the types of programs available to their facility when it comes to hearing protection.

 

During NAOSH week Custom Protect Ear will continue to provide information and expertise on how to prevent “noise induced hearing loss” (NIHL), and how to implement hearing conservation programs in the workplace. To learn more please visit their blog (www.protectear.com/blog) and follow their social community: Twitter/protectear & Facebook/hearingprotection.

About North American Occupational Safety and Health Week

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week – was first launched in June 1997, marked by an agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. NAOSH Week presents an excellent opportunity to focus, reinforce and strengthen commitment to occupational safety and health.

Participation and involvement in NAOSH Week has been shown to:

  • – improve attitudes towards safety
  • – increase understanding of the importance of occupational health & safety
  • – foster a safety-minded culture
  • – increase cooperation
  • – raise awareness
  • – assist in team building, and improve communication between employees, safety committees and safety professionals.

 

Types of Noise Induced Hearing Problems

April 23, 2012

Types of Noise Induced Hearing Problems

Noise Induced Hearing Loss - How Loud is Too Loud?Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be temporary or permanent, but is always caused by – you guessed it – noise! People with exposure to loud noise can suffer two types of NIHL (temporary NIHL and long-term NIHL). These can be prevented by wearing form fitting ear protection, but once the damage is done, it is usually irreversible. One thing is certain, if you work in noise and YOU don’t take responsibility for protecting your hearing, you will lose some or all of it before you retire.

Temporary NIHL

Temporary noise induced hearing loss occurs when a person is subjected to a sudden, extremely loud noise like a gun shot, explosion or fireworks display. It can also be caused by loud music at a rock concert. The symptoms can include muffled hearing, dizziness, and pain in the ear. The symptoms can last from several hours to several days. While hearing will likely return to normal, the damage usually has been done. In some cases hearing loss will be immediate and permanent .If you are exposed to these sounds often, it will lead to a degree of permanent hearing loss.

Long-term NIHL

Long-term noise induced hearing loss happens when a person has been exposed to continuous loud noises over a long period of time. Often long-term NIHL usually occurs in a noisy workplace environment. Common industries where employees report long-term NIHL are manufacturing, music, mining, transportation, railway and construction. But recreational activities like snowmobiling, mowing the lawn, and woodworking, and even blow drying hair can cause long-term NIHL. Long-term hearing loss symptoms appear gradually. Sounds may be muffled or a person may have trouble hearing in a restaurant or public place with a lot of background noise.

How Can My Hearing Be Protected?

Wearing hearing protection can help but only if it is sufficient for the noise you are in and worn effectively.  While we often can’t control the noise in our environment, we can control how we deal with the noise. We recommend everyone who has frequent exposure to noisy situations, whether on the job or at home, wear custom hearing protection. Sure, we recommend it because we are a hearing protection company, but we also care about everyone’s hearing, and for over 30 years it’s been our goal to help prevent noise induced hearing loss before it’s too late.

Learn More About Custom Hearing Protection for You and Your Company

800-520-0220 or email us below

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(First & Last)

Sudden Hearing Loss – First National Guidelines Published

April 5, 2012

Sudden Hearing Loss Research

The first national treatment guideline for sudden hearing loss has been developed by a panel of 19 medical experts led by Robert J. Stachler, M.D., an otolaryngologist in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.  Sudden hearing loss is a condition which sends thousands of individuals in the United States to the emergency room each year. The guideline was published this month in the Journal of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 

Dr. Stachler, said:

“In most cases, patients will have multiple visits with several physicians and undergo extensive testing before a diagnosis is made. There’s also been a lack of one or more uniformly accepted treatments, or a consensus on how to counsel patients who do fully recover their hearing. By focusing on opportunities for quality improvement, the guideline should improve diagnosis, reduce unnecessary tests and imaging procedures, and improve hearing for patients affected by sudden hearing loss.”

The team of experts developed the guideline after examining the literature and reaching a consensus for patient diagnosis, management and follow-up care. The panel included Christopher A. Lewandowski, M.D., a physician in emergency medicine, and Henry Ford’s Kathleen L. Yaremchuk, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss is a rapid loss of hearing in one or both ears which can happen to an individual all at once or over a period of up to 3 days. Usually, patients report that their ear feels full or blocked. Dr. Stachler notes that as symptoms of sudden hearing loss are so prevalent and non-specific, evaluation and treatment are often delayed in several cases. Sudden hearing loss can be caused by a range of issues, such as infectious diseases, induced hearing loss, head trauma, noise induced hearing loss, Meniere’s disease, and circulatory problems.

The new guideline, which is intended for all clinicians who see patients aged 18+, includes:

  • > Information for patients regarding the benefits and risks of medical intervention
  • > Recommendations to assist clinicians in determining whether a patient with sudden hearing loss is suffering from conductive hearing loss or from sensorineural hearing loss. Although both are common causes of hearing loss, they have extremely different treatment strategies.
  • > Recommendations advising clinicians to not order computerized tomography (CT) of the head/brain as part of the initial patient assessment.
  • > A range of amplification and hearing assistive technology available to those patients with incomplete recovery of hearing.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss 

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), a subset of sudden hearing loss is also covered in the guideline. Each year in the United States approximately 4,000 new cases of SSNHL are reported. Even though the majority of patients recovery completely without the need for medical intervention, roughly 15% of patients with SSNHL experience progressive hearing loss over time.

> The guideline is published as a supplement to Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and is available here.

> To learn more about the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford, click here.

Effective Hearing Protection Webinar: Dont Miss!

January 4, 2012

hearingconservation

Hearing Loss Prevention: The Basics”Webinar Registration

Join the Webinar put on by the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) onThursday, January 12, 2012 
8:00 a.m. PST / 9:00 a.m. MST / 10:00 a.m. CST / 11:00 a.m. EST


The Presenter is: Theresa Schulz, PhD., CCC-A — Honeywell Safety Products (Read Bio)

These Series of Webinars are sponsored by Custom Protect Ear.

Effective Hearing Protection
As hearing conservationists we can measure, assess, document, and counsel, but when it comes to effective intervention, an important tool, sometimes our only tool, is a hearing protector. Therefore it behooves us to become knowledgeable about the specification of hearing protection devices and their use in hearing conservation programs. This presentation will focus on hearing protector function, how they are tested and rated (with particular reference to the NRR), the performance gains available from the use of dual hearing protection and hearing protection as a problem solver.

1 unit of ASHA Continuing Education Units is available. Contact hours have been applied for from the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Register online today! (scroll all the way down on page)

Or Visit website to Download PDF

Connect PhoneBuddy™ to your dB Blockers.

November 18, 2011

Product Release

Surrey British Columbia, November 14th, 2011. Custom Protect Ear launches the The PhoneBuddy™, headphones that are compatible to dB Blockers and work with many Smartphones. The headphones, “The PhoneBuddy™” are available in two versions; the single and the dual.

PhoneBuddy™ I  is a single version headphone for Phone Buddy monaural use (phone calls and to just hear the phone ring in noise). The unit works with virtually any smart phone and has an inline microphone and flash button for answering the call and hanging up. 

“A BIG PLUS is you can connect your PhoneBuddy™ into your dB Blocker Convertible vented protector and hear the phone ring in noise. You still have to move to quieter places to have a conversation but you won’t miss the call, says Custom Protect Ear’s President, Jeffery Goldberg.

PhoneBuddy™ II

PhoneBuddy™ II is the stereo version. With PhoneBuddy™ II you can listen to music and answer your phone calls on most Smartphones. It also has an in-line microphone with a flash switch. When a call comes in, the phone will ring in the earpiece and the user simply switches online pokies to the phone by pressing the flash switch.  When the call concludes, the user presses the flash switch again and the music resumes playing.

What makes PhoneBuddy unique is the sound quality and the ability to use it with more than one Smartphone.  PhoneBuddy™ II also connects to dB Blocker Convertible vented protectors for use in a noisy work environment. PhoneBuddy™ I sells for $69.00 retail with discounts for commercial users. PhoneBuddy™ II sells for $125.00 retail also with discounts for commercial users.

Please contact us for more details.

Custom Protect Ear
681-7789 134th Street
Surrey, BC  V3W 9E9
Canada
Phone: 604-599-1311 x321
Toll-free: 1-800-520-0220 x321
Fax: 604-599-7377
Email: hear@protectear.com