Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Resources – please share!

December 9, 2019

Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention

Loud noise can damage hearing or cause permanent hearing loss. Dangerous noise levels can be found in workplaces such as industrial, commercial and retail and  recreational settings like restaurants, stadiums, and clubs; in the classroom; or even on our own personal audio devices.

hear in nose

What is a safe noise level?

We record noise levels in decibels, or dBA. The higher the noise level, the louder the noise.

You can listen to sounds at 70 dBA or lower for as long as you want. Sounds at 85 dBA can lead to hearing loss if you listen to them for more than 8 hours at a time. For personal listening devices, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a volume of no more than 80 dBA for adults and 75 dBA for children.

WHO Standard for Safe Listening

Hearing

ASHA Resources for Hearing Loss Prevention

How ASHA Promotes Hearing Health

Besides the resources above, ASHA is very active in promoting hearing health and raising the profile of hearing issues on many domestic and international fronts.

Domestically:

  • From the first days of digital media, ASHA has been a national leader raising concerns about the potential impact of unhealthy personal audio device use. For a decade, ASHA’s Listen to Your Buds campaign put on “safe listening concerts” in schools nationwide to educate children about hearing health.
  • ASHA’s Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative focuses on raising public awareness about the importance of healthy usage of personal audio devices.
  • Launched in 2013, ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign is dedicated to educating the public about the warning signs of communication disorders and the importance of acting quickly at the first sign of trouble.
  • In 2011, ASHA partnered with AARP in assessing the hearing health of its members; polling indicated a significant degree of untreated hearing loss and led to ASHA’s Speak Up for Hearing Loss national campaign that encouraged people to seek professional guidance and help with hearing care.

Internationally:

  • At WHO’s request, ASHA serves as an ongoing advisor on the Make Listening Safe campaign, a WHO initiative that produced the first global standard for safe listening on personal devices.
  • ASHA is a member of the World Hearing Forum, a WHO-established global network of stakeholders dedicated to promoting ear and hearing care worldwide.
  • Through a digital campaign, ASHA participates annually in World Hearing Day (March 3), raising awareness and educating the public about hearing-related issues.
  • ASHA is a founder of the International Communication Project, which is dedicated to raising the profile of communication disorders with global policymakers.

To learn more about hearing protection and hearing conservation check out our resources:

Custom Protect Ear Hearing Resources

Hearing Protection 

Hearing Conservation 

NOISE-RELATED HEARING LOSS VIDEO (See below)


SOURCE

https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Noise-and-Hearing-Loss-Prevention/

Critical ways to protect your ears

December 7, 2019

Once your hearing is damaged, it’s gone for good. That’s why we raise awareness about the prevalence of hearing loss, the importance of early diagnosis, and the options for taking action to find the best hearing solution for your needs. We are seeing an influx of wearers requesting using custom hearing protection over disposable – Click here to learn more. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start taking care of your ears! Here are nine easy ways to protect your ears and your hearing health.

 

1. Use hearing protection around loud, intense noises

Earplugs

Approximately 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments.

Clubs, concerts, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and any other noises that force you to shout so the person next to you can hear your voice all create dangerous levels of sound. Earplugs are convenient and easy to obtain. You can even have a pair custom fitted for your ears by your local hearing healthcare provider.

Musicians’ earplugs are custom earplugs with filters that allow a person to hear conversations and music but still reduce harmful sound levels while maintaining the quality of the original sound as closely as possible.

2. Turn the volume down

Headphones

According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe use of audio devices.

If you like to enjoy music through headphones or earbuds, you can protect your ears by following the 60/60 rule. The suggestion is to listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

Earbuds are especially dangerous, as they fit directly next to the eardrum. If possible, opt for over-the-ear headphones.

Don’t forget that any loud music, not just music played through headphones, presents a risk for noise-induced hearing loss. If you’re hosting a social event, keep the music at a volume which won’t force people to shout in order to hold a conversation

3. Give your ears time to recover

Relaxing

If you are exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a bar, your ears need time to recover. If you can, step outside for five minutes every so often in order to let them rest.

What’s more, researchers have found that your ears need an average of 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out.

4. Stop using cotton swabs in your ears

Q-tips

It’s common for people to use cotton swabs to clean wax out of their ear canal, but this is definitely not advisable. A little bit of wax in your ears is not only normal, but it’s also important. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal. Plus, inserting anything inside your ear canals risks damaging sensitive organs like your ear drum.

If you have excess wax, you can clean around the canal with a damp towel—gently. You could also use ear wax removal solution over the course of a few nights. This softens the wax so that it will eventually flow out on its own. The best solution is always to seek a professional opinion and care when possible.

5. Take medications only as directed

Doctor

Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can sometimes contribute to hearing loss. Discuss medications with your doctor if you’re concerned that they’ll impact your hearing ability and take them only as directed.

6. Keep your ears dry

Drying Off

Excess moisture can allow bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which can be dangerous for your hearing ability. Be sure you gently towel-dry your ears after bathing or swimming. If you can feel water in the ear, tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out.

You can also ensure that your ears stay dry and healthy by using custom-fit swimmers’ earplugs, which block water from entering the ear canal. They’re great for adults and kids alike, and they work wonders in preventing swimmer’s ear. Make an appointment with your local hearing health professional to get fitted.

 

7. Get up and move

Fitness

Did you know that exercise is good for your ears? It’s true. Cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including the ears. This helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and working to their maximum potential.

Make sure to stay safe! When cycling, always wear a helmet. If you fall and hit your head, a concussion can harm your hearing.

8. Manage stress levels

Hammock

Stress and anxiety have been linked to both temporary and permanent tinnitus (a phantom ringing in the ears). High levels of stress cause your body to go into fight or flight mode, which is an instinctual reaction that fills your body with adrenaline to help you either fight or flee from danger. This process puts a lot of pressure on your nerves, blood flow, body heat, and more. It’s commonly thought that this pressure and stress can travel up into your inner ear and contribute to tinnitus symptoms.

9. Get regular checkups

Otoscope

Ask your primary care physician to incorporate hearing screenings into your regular checkups. Because hearing loss develops gradually, it’s also recommended that you have annual hearing consultations with a hearing healthcare professional. That way, you’ll be more likely to recognize signs of hearing loss and take action as soon as you do.

Taking action is important because untreated hearing loss, besides detracting from quality of life and the strength of relationships, has been linked to other health concerns like depression, dementia, and heart disease.

Do your ears a favor get customized or personal hearing protection. Learn more . 

Hearing Loss Tips for a Loud Thanksgiving

November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with the people we’re grateful for. It usually means a family dinner is on the way. A dinner  filled with music, laughter, and conversation, a lot of it – all at once – and typically in a small room. As you can probably imagine, it can be a very difficult sound environment for someone with hearing loss to make out what’s being said.

 

Holidays can present an intimidating challenge for the millions of people with hearing loss. We wanted to compile some tips and suggestions for making it through the holidays with hearing loss. First up, how to be mindful of our hard of hearing friends and loved ones at Thanksgiving.

 

Let Your Family Know

One of the first things that comes to mind around Thanksgiving is family. While everyone is completely entitled to handle  their hearing loss as privately as they would like, most hearing professionals will suggest letting your family know. When everyone is on the same page, it gives others the opportunity to be more mindful. Hearing loss is never something to hide or feel ashamed about, let it be known and hopefully it improves the level of communication.

Thanksgiving is a time when we get together to catch up and talk about the changes in our lives with people that love us. Take the opportunity to be open and honest about your hearing loss while everyone is together. As long as you feel comfortable, speaking to others you’re close to about your hearing loss can significantly improve your odds of hearing more clearly at any family event.

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, nearly twenty percent of the U.S. population lives with some form of hearing loss. If your Thanksgiving group consists of 10 people, regardless of age, it’s possible that at least two of them may be having a slightly more difficult time hearing than you thought.

thanksgiving

The reality is that many people will go to their holiday festivities and essentially “fake their way” through conversations, rather than politely asking others to be mindful of their hearing loss. Often, a level of pride or even embarrassment can prevent them from revealing their hearing loss.

This might lead to attempts at reading lips, nodding, or agreeing to some part of what was said, without comprehending fully. With speech being one of the more difficult frequencies – it’s no easy task to make out individual voices clearly among the cacophony of other sounds around the table.

Conversation matters

The most difficult everyday circumstance for those with hearing loss is a conversation. Trouble understanding speech, in particular, has led to significant improvements in the speech-enhancement technology being developed in modern hearing aids.One of the most surefire ways to improve your ability to hear and converse with other is by wearing hearing aids. They are able to do more than just amplify the noise, but can also make it clear. Hearing aids channel sound through certain frequency ranges in order to make them more understandable.

If you have a friend or family member who is reluctant or hesitant about integrating hearing aids into their life – give them a helpful nudge in the right direction. Suggest a hearing a hearing test to determine the level of hearing loss and learn more about the types of hearing aids available from a professional.

Tips for Able-Hearing Family Members

There are other things you can do to ensure your friends or loved ones with hearing loss still feel part of the conversation. Cut the background music. Music can blend the sounds together from the start – so can loud TVs. You can also make it a point to sit closer together. Get comfortable, get close. You’ll hear and be heard better.

If everyone is making a unified effort to improve the level of communication in the room, there will be far less guessing of words or saying, “What?” At the same time, if someone does ask you to repeat yourself or asks, “what was that?” – don’t shrug it off with a “never mind” or “don’t worry about it.” This can come off as unintentionally dismissive, creating further detachment from the conversation.

This Thanksgiving, before you wonder what spices to marinate your turkey in, remember to think about how you can help those in your family with hearing loss overcome the “Thanksgiving dinner jitters.” After all, you may be saving the holidays for them entirely and relieve their nerves for Christmas dinner.

From all of us at Protect Ear – Happy thanksgiving!


SOURCE – https://bloomhearing.com/hearing-tips/hearing-loss-tips-for-a-loud-thanksgiving/

Hazard Hearing Environments-Metal Fabrication

November 26, 2019

When mobile workers in lean shops move into and out of noise-hazardous areas, they can’t simply wear maximum protection at all times to block out every hazardous noise.

Here are some tips on selecting the right protector for any situation that can solve these problems.
Despite the ongoing industry-wide attention and investment in hearing conservation programs and engineering solutions, extreme noise levels and the potential for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are still being encountered by workers throughout the metal fabrication industry. A properly fitted foam earplug provides a simple solution for the highest level of protection, recommended where exposure to potentially damaging levels of noise may be encountered. A wide variety of foam earplug shapes and sizes are offered, however foam ear plugs are not always the safest and most reliable protection for your ears.  Over the past few years, we are seeing a shift in Occupational Health and Safety persuading workers and managers to adopt custom, personal or moulded hearing protection. To learn some tips for achieving the best possible fit of hearing protection see below.

If dirty or gloved hands make use of a roll-down foam earplug difficult, consider a hearing protector with a stem. Even some foam earplugs and custom ear plugs include a stem for insertion like the dB Blocker Grip. The new dB Blocker Grip innovative design targets industries where dirt, grime and larger hands may be an issue.

The new Grip’s non-slip integrated handle is formed in a single piece of dB Blocker silicone in order to deliver hassle-free ease of insertion screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-12-20-50-pmand removal. Learn more.  

Multiple-use hearing protection often make the best option for intermittent noise levels, or for situations where levels may require raised voices for clear communication. These protectors can be quickly and easily removed or replaced as hazardous noise levels increase or subside. Multiple-use models are usually available in a variety of shapes and sizes to match the variations in users’ ear canals.

Ear muffs can be used either alone or with insertable hearing protection of some type. In general, the larger the earcup of the muff, the greater the attenuation or lessening of the noise. The rule of thumb for dual protection is to add 5 dB to the attenuation of the hearing protection for the use of an earmuff in combination. Generally the earplug or ear mold is the more variable fit.

Where both hearing protection and clear communications are required, modern PPE technology offers two types of solutions. (Both beat the “old school” answer to this situation, wherein workers in a noisy environment just take out their earplugs whenever someone speaks to them. For obvious reasons, this is not a recommended solution. That is why more workers are wearing dB Blockers as its hearing protection you can hear through. The proprietary frequency tuned filter allows interpersonal communication without removal. People can communicate in noise better while wearing their dB Blockers™ hearing protectors than if they were to remove them. Your hearing loss prevention program will not interfere with productivity. Learn more. 

productive workers

For the most technologically sophisticated solution, consider a communication system. This advanced device incorporates hearing protection, active noise reduction, and voice signal amplification. It’s recommended where clear communication is critical, as in workplaces where misunderstanding a verbal communication could cause an injury or even a fatality.

In lean manufacturing, as more workers become mobile and move between or into and out of noise-hazardous areas, challenges with mobile workers present unknown exposure levels, uncertain availability of protection equipment, and difficulty in monitoring PPE use. PPE should be readily available at each worksite, everywhere that it is needed. Workers should know when and how to use their hearing protection. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to shout to speak to someone approximately an arm’s length away, you should both have hearing protection on.

The metalworking industry presents a stunning variety of hearing hazards, as punching, cutting, casting, stamping and forming machinery, equipment and tools of all varieties assault the ears with all sorts of constant, intermittent, and impact noise. In such a dynamic environment, with people and machines constantly on the move, it’s critical that workers maintain situational awareness to operate safely. However, they can’t simply wear maximum protection at all times to block out every hazardous noise. Such overprotection could too easily make them miss important voice communications or warning signals.

Nor can they periodically remove their hearing protectors to monitor machines or speak with colleagues. That’s a sure way to risk permanent, noise-induced hearing loss.

HEARING CONSERVATION
Whether a formal hearing conservation program is required or not, the goal is to have a safe work environment at all work locations. Workers should go home with the same level of health and wellness the brought to work. Using the right hearing protection maintains a worker’s hearing health, but also allows that worker to safely complete his or her job.

Regulations require that employers furnish adequate hearing protection on the job. Finding the right hearing safeguards for the myriad needs at worksites across the metalworking industry not only provides compliance: it ensures that workers remain protected and productive. Learn more about improving productivity in the metal machine & fabrication industry or download the PDF – Click here to download a brochure (Adobe PDF)


SOURCE

How the Cold or Flu Causes Hearing Loss

November 19, 2019

Winter and cold & flu season is coming

The cold and flu season is coming. Everyone is familiar with the dreaded symptoms of a cold or flu, but did you know that those symptoms can include hearing loss? The hearing loss associated with a cold or flu generally comes as a result of the congestion build up in the sinuses and ears. Like the other symptoms, the hearing loss is usually temporary but can add to the misery of being sick.

How the Cold or Flu Causes Hearing Loss

Hearing loss when you are sick is not uncommon. When you have a cold or the flu, congestion builds up in the middle ear which makes it hard for the sound waves to travel through the ear. In addition, the eustachian tubes in the back of the throat can become blocked and their function is to help regulate air pressure in the middle ear. Either of these issues can muffle sound and make it difficult to discern speech. Other related ear related symptoms during a cold or flu can include balance problems and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The resulting conductive hearing loss usually dissipates along with all the other cold and flu symptoms.

In some very rare occasions, the flu virus can affect the nerves in the ear and cause permanent hearing damage. If you do experience hearing loss during a sickness, keep your doctor or audiologist in the loop, especially if the hearing loss isn’t getting better when other symptoms begin to go away.

Winter season

Does Cold Weather Cause Ear Infections?

When the weather turns cold, many people experience pain or discomfort in their ears, nose and throat. People often confuse symptoms caused by cold weather

Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not cause ear infections. An ear infection is caused by bacteria in the upper respiratory system that travels up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear.

Even though cold weather doesn’t cause the issue, it can make symptoms more pronounced. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms, seek treatment. Studies show that recurring ear infections can cause hearing loss.

How do you prevent cold-induced ear pain?

While you can’t prevent an ear infection from developing, you can prevent ear pain that comes from decreased blood circulation in cold weather. Whenever you’re outside, be sure to cover your ears with a winter hat or ear muffs. This will provide warmth and protect you after coming back inside. Another solution to protecting your ears is also getting a custom hearing protection device to wear in the ear under the ear muffs. This will block out the cold as well as high intense noise. To learn more check out dB Blockers

 


SOURCE

https://www.hearingbalance.com/hearing-blog/how-to-protect-your-ears-during-the-cold-and-flu-season

10 Famous People with Hearing Loss

November 14, 2019

One of the most difficult aspects of hearing loss is the sense of alienation that comes with it.

Sometimes when we hear that celebrities are actually human and have the same and experiences and losses as us normal people feel adequate. However, when it comes to hearing loss – whether your a celebrity of not its still a difficult impairment to comprehend. We have seen many icons and celebrities that have lived with impairments such as Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.

Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles are universally recognized as heroes for not letting their blindness stop them from producing some of the greatest music of the last century.

However, for those who are hard of hearing, role models can be a bit harder to find, despite the fact that a staggering 360 million people suffer from hearing loss around the world, with children making up nearly one-tenth of that number.

Perhaps this is because of the lingering stigma that surrounds hearing loss, which is invisible to others and often gradual. If you are struggling with a hearing problem but reluctant to make a change, it may prove somewhat comforting to know that you far from alone. In fact, some of the most successful people from the worlds of entertainment, music, sports, and history have been hard of hearing and many are now vocal advocates for hearing health awareness.

hearing loss celebrities

Here are just a few inspiring examples.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTOR/COMIC

A global star of the stage, silver screen, and most recently, co-host of The View on ABC, Whoopi Goldberg has openly discussed her hearing loss and the fact that she wears hearing aids in both ears. She believes that her hearing was damaged by listening to very loud music too close to her ears for many years. Today, she uses her story as a platform to keep children from abusing the volume function on their portable listening devices so they can keep enjoying their favorite tunes well into their adult years.

GERARD BUTLER, ACTOR

The Scottish star of 300 and many other film and stage productions, Gerard Butler had surgery as a child that left his right ear physically deformed. He suffers from lifelong tinnitus and hearing loss in that ear, which he says is responsible for his smile appearing crooked in photos. However, his condition did not prevent him from starring in the film version of the musical Phantom of the Opera and belting out the titular character’s bombastic rock-star anthems.

PETE TOWNSHEND, MUSICIAN

Lead guitarist and driving force behind the legendary rock band, The Who, Pete Townshend is completely deaf in one ear and only has partial hearing in the other – which is further troubled by tinnitus. He attributes his condition to using earphones in the recording studio while playing back music tracks (not to mention years of playing live on stage with one of the loudest acts in rock history). He has a hearing aid now and says its use and other assistive technology have helped him feel “reborn.”

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS

One in three women have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a partner, and roughly 20 people are abused every minute in the United States. While the emotional trauma of abuse lasts a lifetime, the physical damage can be equally as permanent. In the case of Halle Berry, a toxic relationship cost her 80 percent of the hearing in one ear but couldn’t stop her from becoming one of the highest-grossing women in Hollywood. Halle Berry is also a dB Blocker wearer. During the filming of Xmen in Victoria BC – Halle picked up a pair of dB Blockers to block out loud on-set noises. Today, she is a regular spokeswoman for domestic abuse victims and uses her story to encourage others to stand up against violence, before it’s too late.

BRIAN WILSON, MUSICIAN

“Loud” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of the Beach Boys. Unlike his contemporaries who ruined their ears with cymbal crashes and guitar amplifiers, Brian Wilson, mastermind behind America’s favorite surf-rock boy band, has suffered from near-total deafness in his right ear since he was a young boy. An abusive father struck him on the side of the head for misbehaving, damaging the ear of one of the 20th century’s most cherished songwriters. Brian’s story, though tragic, is a perfect example of how hearing loss can affect anyone at any time. Fortunately, as Brian’s lifelong career has shown, it doesn’t have to be an impediment.

BARBRA STREISAND, MUSICIAN/ACTRESS

Despite international acclaim for her musical ability, Barbra Streisand has encountered setbacks on tour because of her lifelong struggle with tinnitus. For Streisand, the ringing in her ears worsens in stressful situations, and once was so intense it forced her to walk off stage in the middle of a performance. The singer and actress has gone on record saying that she used to feel ashamed of her tinnitus and wanted to keep it a secret from others. For a list of other artists who suffer from tinnitus, click here.

JANE LYNCH, ACTRESS

Though best known for her roles in comedies, Jane Lynch will be the first to tell you that hearing loss is no laughing matter. A virus stole the hearing from her right ear as an infant, but she was unaware of her condition for the first seven years of her life. In her 2011 memoir, she writes about the time her brother kept alternating listening to his radio between both ears, which marked the first time she realized that other people used both ears to hear.

HUEY LEWIS, MUSICIAN

Another rocker who played loudly and without hearing protection for years, Huey Lewis has extensive hearing loss and tinnitus. He wears hearing aids in both ears and contributes his story to campaigns to raise awareness among musicians and others of the risks that may lead to hearing loss.

CHRIS COLWILL, ATHLETE

Chris Colwill has competed on behalf of the United States in two Olympics as a member of the diving team. He was born with 60 percent hearing loss in both ears and wears hearing aids outside of the pool. Since he cannot dive with his hearing aids in, he relies on watching the scoreboard to keep track of when it is his turn to dive.

JIM RYUN, ATHLETE AND U.S. CONGRESSMAN (2ND DISTRICT, KS)

Inspirational Olympic silver medalist Jim Ryun was a member of the U.S. Track and Field team in the 1968 Mexico City games. He suffered 50 percent hearing loss as a young child after a bout with measles. Ryun later served as a Congressman from 1996-2007, a term distinguished by his introduction of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act. [1]

HISTORICAL FIGURES KNOWN TO HAVE HEARING LOSS

In addition to the folks mentioned above, many historical figures have accomplished great things, in spite and because of their deafness or hearing loss. The best known of these include the following:

  • Helen Keller, advocate, public speaker, author
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven, composer, musician
  • Thomas Edison, inventor, businessperson
  • Francisco Goya, master painter, printmaker

Listen Up about Workplace Noise Monitoring

November 7, 2019

Listen Up about Workplace Noise Monitoring – Kicking it up a notch

According to OSHA, each year 22 million employees are exposed to hazardous noises at work, making hearing loss the most common work-related injury. It’s time to understand, and consider, the role technology can play in workplace noise monitoring.

According to OSHA, each year 22 million employees are exposed to hazardous noises at work, making hearing loss the most common work-related injury. It’s time to understand, and consider, the role technology can play in workplace noise monitoring.
Setting Standards in Place

 

noise

The goal of all employers should be for their employees to leave work in the same condition as they began—healthy and safe. When an organization displays its dedication to employee safety through responsible practices and initiatives, it results in increased productivity and employee morale, as well as decreased insurance costs.

In 2018, ISO 45001 was established as the new standard for occupational health and safety (OHS) to reduce the burden of regulation and prevent workplace injuries and fatalities, providing a framework to improve employee safety and create safer working conditions. It is an international standard that specifies requirements for an OHS management system, with guidance for its use and to enable an organization to proactively improve its OHS performance in preventing injury and ill health. ISO 45001 is intended to be applicable to any organization regardless of its size, type, or nature, and all of its requirements are intended to be easily integrated into an organization’s own management processes.

Hazards and risks in the workplace need to be identified and, more importantly, eliminated or reduced to appropriate levels.

ISO 45001 highlights both noise and dust exposure issues, as well as the value of workplace monitoring. Research shows that stronger occupational regulation of noise leads to safer sound levels, which results in safer employees.

Impacts of Occupational Hearing Loss

NIOSH recommends that workers are not exposed to noise at a level that amounts to more than 85 decibels (dBA) over eight continuous hours. An estimated 24 percent of hearing loss in the United States has been attributed to workplace exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects. It usually develops over a long period of time and, except in very rare cases, there is no pain. What does occur is a progressive loss of communication, socialization, and responsiveness to the environment. In its early stages, it affects the ability to understand or differentiate speech. As it progresses to the lower frequencies, it begins to affect the ability to hear sounds in general.

The primary effects of workplace noise exposure include noise-induced temporary threshold shift, noise-induced permanent threshold shift, acoustic trauma, and tinnitus. A noise-induced temporary threshold shift is a short-term decrease in hearing sensitivity that returns to the pre-exposed level in a matter of hours or days, assuming there is not continued exposure to excessive noise.

If noise exposure continues, the shift can become a noise-induced permanent threshold shift, which is a decrease in hearing sensitivity that is not expected to improve over time. If workers experience standard threshold shifts, employers are required to fit or refit the workers with hearing protectors, train them in the use of the hearing protectors, and require the workers to use them.

 

noiseThe effects of excessive noise exposure are made worse when workers have extended shifts (longer than eight hours). With extended shifts, the duration of the noise exposure is longer and the amount of time between shifts is shorter. This means that the ears have less time to recover between noisy shifts and damage can more quickly become permanent.

Tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears,” can occur after long-term exposure to high sound levels, or sometimes from short-term exposure to very high sound levels. Regardless of the cause, this condition is a disturbance produced by the inner ear and interpreted by the brain as sound. Individuals with tinnitus describe it as a hum, buzz, roar, ring, or whistle, which can be short term or permanent.

Hazardous levels of noise exposure should be a priority for employers to monitor to avoid implications for both themselves and their employees.
Measuring noise levels and noise exposure is the most important part of a workplace hearing conservation and noise control program. It helps identify locations where there are noise problems, employees who may be affected, and where additional noise measurements need to be made.

Changing the Workplace with Technology

To assess the risk of workplace noise, a variety of monitoring solutions may be installed and utilized. Noise dosimeters are ideal for personal exposure monitoring and a mobile workforce, while sound level meters can be used to check areas or an individual’s exposure for a stationary task. Plus, we are also seeing in an increase of customized hearing protection such as molded hearing like dB Blockers. Customized hearing solutions are costly up front but they last 5 years and are custom fit to the ear leaving little margin of noise error.

Noise exposures are monitored using established technology and are the responsibility of occupational hygienists, a health and safety manager, or another trained expert. Data collection provides concrete information highlighting key paths for change and can help the organization to achieve compliance with government standards and protect its workforce effectively. Some of the devices that companies are using are Fit Check Testing devices where they will measure any earplug from any source. Some examples of these are Custom Protect Ear’s FitCheck Solo.

To increase the success of workplace noise monitoring, workers must understand its importance and the long-term, negative health effects that could result. If noise monitoring technology is used, quantitative data can be captured and any risks or potential areas of concern can be identified.


SOURCE
By Justin StewartSep 01, 2019 – https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2019/09/01/Listen-Up-Kicking-Workplace-Noise-Monitoring-Up-a-Notch.aspx?Page=3

What is National Audiology Awareness Month

October 17, 2019

October Is National Audiology Awareness Month
& National Protect Your Hearing Month

Over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss. The statistics are shocking and even more so knowing that over half of those 36 million Americans are younger than age 65 . Hearing loss is an increasing health concern in this nation that is often preventable. Taking time to see an audiologist for regular hearing screenings and knowing the signs of hearing loss can protect your hearing.

Audiologists

The American Academy of Audiology is dedicated to increasing public awareness of audiology and the importance of hearing protection. We have created a variety of educational activity worksheets for parents, teachers, and kids to use in support of this month’s celebration.

Click here to “Find an Audiologist” in your area and make an appointment this October during National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month to get your hearing tested.

Fact Sheets

The Academy has prepared these fact sheets as tools for you to use. Simply download, print, and go. Leave them in the waiting room at your school, the local grocery store, and the community center.

What Is an Audiologist
Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss and Infant Hearing Screening
Hearing Loss in Children
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Hearing Health Quick Test
Noise in the Work Place

Protect Your Hearing

ProtectEar USA,  has been providing custom industrial hearing protectors (earplugs) to Americans for over 36 years. The custom dB Blocker hearing protectors (earplugs) are more effective for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss than disposable earplugs.

We deliver a defect-free custom hearing protection product to our customers on time, every time. Guaranteed. PLUS not only do dB Blockers provide superior hearing protection from hearing loss than foam plugs, but they are also more cost effective as well.

ProtectEar USA, exclusively distributes products developed by North America’s largest personalized industrial hearing protector manufacturer, Custom Protect Ear. Custom Protect Ear manufactures the following products:

dB Blockers™ | dB Blockers™ offer “The Smartest Hearing Protection in the World”, especially where interpersonal communication is required.

dB Com™ | dB Com™ provides custom industrial hearing protection that allows for two-way communication which fits the individual to their work environment, reducing the harmful frequencies they’re exposed to.

dB Life™ | Personal dB BlockersWith dB Life™, conversations become clearer and more engaging; music reveals background sounds and layering, and a good night’s sleep goes uninterrupted.

FitCheck Solo™ FitCheck Solo is ProtectEar’s newest product and is the only Field Attenuation Estimating System (FAES). FitCheck Solo is the latest and most accurate tool in the fight against noise-induced hearing loss.

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For More information about National Audiology Awareness Month click here


SOURCE

https://www.howsyourhearing.org/awareness.html

Noisey Workplace:  The Importance Of Hearing Protection

October 8, 2019

Hearing Protection In The Workplace

When does hearing loss, or hearing impairment, become the result of a work-related exposure?  After all, we live in a world where loud noises are common, like from heavy city traffic, or even the music so kindly being shared through the open windows of the car stopped next to you.  And there’s often that person who thinks headphones are speakers and has the music playing loud enough that it can be heard by everyone in the room.  So yes, loud noise is common.  And yes, loud noise can lead to hearing loss.

There is no denying that the tools that we use in our lines of work create loud noise, too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that employees will lose their hearing.  With the proper workplace hearing protection controls in place to eliminate, reduce, and protect against potentially damaging noise exposures, we reduce the chances that our employees will experience occupational hearing loss.

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Understanding Hearing Damage 

How loud does the noise need to be to damage a person’s hearing?  Hearing loss can occur when exposed to 85 decibels of noise averaged over 8 hours.  Let’s put this in perspective.  Normal conversations typically occur at 60 decibels, well below the hearing loss threshold.  Remember those headphones used as speakers?  That music was probably playing at full volume, which can often register as 105 decibels.  Here’s the thing, though.  For every 3 decibel increase past 85 decibels, hearing loss can occur in half the amount of time.  So it only takes 4 hours of exposure to 88 decibels for hearing loss to occur, and 2 hours of exposure to 91 decibels.  Once noise levels exceed 100 decibels, a person can suffer hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes.  The louder the noise, the faster hearing loss occurs.

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Noise Levels In The Workplace

Where do the tools and environments where we work fit into this picture?

  • Air compressors from 3 feet away register 92 decibels, which would take less than 2 hours to cause hearing loss

  • Powered drills register 98 decibels, which would cause damage after 30 minutes

  • Typical factories often register at 100 decibels – that’s 15 minutes of exposure

  • Powered saws can reach 110 decibels from 3 feet away, which could cause permanent hearing loss in under 2 minuteshearing protection

In short, if workers are exposed to these noise levels without protection, then hearing loss is very likely.  The only way to know the exact noise levels that workers are exposed to is to conduct noise monitoring using specialized equipment, though this is only required when exposures are at or above 85 decibels.  Some indications that noise levels may be this high are if employees complain about the loudness of the noise, if there are signs suggesting that employees are losing their hearing, or if the noise levels make normal conversation difficult.  Also consider that these conditions may not occur across the entire work site, but may be limited to a specific task or piece of machinery.

How then, do we protect our employees and their hearing?

The Importance Of Hearing Protection In The Workplace

The best protection we can provide is to eliminate the hazard, by eliminating the need to work with the tools or in the environments that create these noise exposures.  Realistically, though, this isn’t always possible.  We can also work to reduce the noise levels that employees are exposed to.  Some tools and machines are available that are designed to operate at lower decibels, therefore reducing the risk of hearing loss. 

We can also implement administrative controls, such as placing a cap on the number of hours that an employee can work in a high decibel environment, or limit the hours working with specific tools and equipment.

Our final line of protection is our PPE that meets OSHA hearing protection requirements.  Ear plugs, Custom Hearing Protection and ear muffs can reduce the decibel exposures, providing protection against hearing loss.  Ear plugs provide the greatest amount of protection as long as they are inserted correctly.  Therefore, employees need to be trained to wear them correctly when they are used.  Ear muffs can also reduce the decibel exposures, though not to the extent that ear plugs can.  They are easier to wear correctly, though, which is why some workers prefer them.

Some high decibel exposures may be unavoidable to perform the tasks necessary for our operations, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to protect employees and their hearing while at work.  What they do in their free time, like attending a rock concert (which can peak at 130 decibels), becomes their choice.

Creating & Implementing A Plan For Workplace Hearing Protection

If you need to create or update your safety management plan to include OSHA hearing protection. 


SOURCE

https://www.optimumsafetymanagement.com/blog/noise-importance-hearing-protection-workplace/

SPREAD THE NEWS! October Is National Protect Your Hearing Month

October 3, 2019

During this year’s National Protect Your Hearing Month—observed each October—learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and help Noisy Planet spread the word to others.hearing awareness

NIHL occurs when noise damages tiny hair cells within the cochlea—the small, snail-shaped organ for hearing in the inner ear. When hair cells are damaged, they can’t send information about sound to the brain. Since people can’t grow new hair cells to replace damaged ones, hearing loss from noise is permanent. (Watch Noisy Planet’s Journey of Sound video for a detailed explanation of how we hear.)

People of all ages can develop NIHL. A 2017 study shows that about 13 to 18 percent of teens (ages 12 to 19) have signs of possible NIHL. Hearing loss from noise may not be obvious at first, but symptoms can build over time. NIHL can make it difficult to communicate with others and to appreciate the sounds of everyday living, such as chirping birds or a crackling fire.

Luckily, NIHL is preventable. Noisy Planet strives to help children and teens make healthy hearing a habit early on, so that they can avoid NIHL for a lifetime. You can help prevent hearing loss from noise by following these simple lifestyle changes:

Turn down the volume.

  • Keep the volume low on smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs, and set maximum volume levels on devices used by children and teens. Sounds below 70 A-weighted decibels (dBA) are generally considered safe. Sounds at or above 85 dBA are more likely to put you at risk for NIHL, especially if they last a long time or are repeated. You can measure the decibel levels of devices and environments with a free app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Move away from the noise.

  • To reduce sound intensity and the impact of noise on your ears, increase the distance between you and the sound. Think of this simple step when you are near fireworks or concert speakers.

Wear hearing protectors, earplugs, custom ear plugs or earmuffs.

  • Sometimes you can’t easily escape the sound, whether you’re at a movie theater, a concert, a sporting event, or in a noisy work environment. Earplugs or protective earmuffs can help. If you’re a parent, carry hearing protectors for your little ones and be a hearing health role model by wearing them yourself. If you’re caught without hearing protectors, you can cover your ears with your hands.
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Help spread the message about healthy hearing – Read more


Source – https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/have-you-heard/october-national-protect-your-hearing-month