Monthly Archives: February 2019

NIOSH updates Sound Level Meter app

February 20, 2019

NIOSH has released an updated version of its free Sound Level Meter app, designed to measure noise exposure in the workplace. The update includes new information on how to conduct a noise survey and select proper hearing protection. The agency also has improved the app’s help screens, NIOSH announced Jan. 23 via Twitter.

Along with sharing and reporting data, the app has the capability to calibrate an internal or external microphone.
The NIOSH Sound Level Meter is available to download from the Apple App Store. For Android users, the agency states that because of the large number of available Android devices and models, “testing and verification of the accuracy and functionality of an Android-based app in our laboratory is not currently possible.”



About the Sound Level Meter App NIOSH Sound Level Meter App

The NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app combines the best features of professional sound levels meters and noise dosimeters into a simple, easy-to-use package. The app was developed to help workers make informed decisions about their noise environment and promote better hearing health and prevention efforts.

Key Features

  • Developed by experienced acoustics engineers and hearing loss experts.
  • Tested and validated (accuracy ± 2 dBA) according to standards in a reverberant chamber at the NIOSH acoustics lab – the only proper method to validate accuracy.
  • Meets Type 2 requirements of IEC 61672:3 SLM standard when used w/ external microphone.
  • Provides the most relevant metrics found in professional sound instruments today. Averages such as LAeq and TWA, Max and Peak Levels, Noise Dose and Projected Dose according to NIOSH and OSHA standards, and all three major weighting networks (A, C, and Z).
  • Capability to calibrate either internal or external microphone. Reporting and Sharing data.
  • Up-to-date informational screens on what noises are considered hazardous, how to conduct a noise measurement, how to properly select a hearing protector and guidelines for preventing hearing loss.
  • Technical support is available directly from NIOSH hearing experts.

The NIOSH Sound Level Meter App is excellent for measuring noise exposure in the workplace; but how about measuring the attenuation of an earplug.


So now that we KNOW that the work in the environment is deemed “noisy” then how do we know the hearing protection is blocking out the allowed exposure of noise?

The answer is simple: FITCHECK SOLO™.  FitCheck Solo™ will measure any earplug from any source. No additional special devices are needed. Just the same earplugs they now use or even ones they are considering using. Learn more about Field Attenuation Estimation Systems. 


5 safety and hygiene practices to double-check in 2019

February 12, 2019

Now is the time for occupational safety professionals to check that the safety and hygiene practices in place at their workplaces are compliant with regulatory bodies — like OSHA — and will safeguard workers’ wellbeing.

Data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that workplace accidents show a prolonged downward trend, but that’s no reason to get complacent.


Here are five things safety managers should verify in 2019

1. Equipment and behaviors to minimize falls

Falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries. On January 17, 2017, OSHA enacted new rules regarding workplace surfaces and reducing falls as well as ways to prevent falls that happen when workers perform tasks at dangerous heights. One of those recent stipulations involves letting employers choose their fall protection systems by selecting from approved options.

Plus, occupational safety personnel should remind workers to exercise caution on slick and wet surfaces, use signs to warn others of hazardous surfaces and employ handrails or floor mats to further reduce risks.

2. A process for ill workers — especially those handling food

When people come to work sick, they could make their colleagues and members of the public ill too. That risk is particularly apparent among food service workers. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 20 percent of workers completed at least one shift while experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. They could pass their illnesses on to people they interact with on a given day as well as the individuals who eat the foods they serve.

One of the best ways to discourage people from showing up sick is to create a procedure for them to follow for notifying supervisors of their illnesses so that those managers can find coverage when necessary. The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code stipulates that ill food service employees with certain symptoms must notify management.

3. Reasonable access to restrooms

Amazon recently came under fire after allegations that its employees urinated in bottles to boost their chances of meeting performance targets and not having to go to the faraway restrooms. Of course, Amazon denied that claim, asserting that all of its employees could easily access facility restrooms.

Regardless of the legitimacy of the claim, the situation is a reminder that all companies must provide appropriate restroom access. For example, it’s unlawful to make assembly line workers delay using the bathroom to keep productivity and safety levels high. As an alternative, the employees could tell line overseers that they need bathroom breaks.

It’s also crucial that there are enough restrooms to serve the number of employees at an organization. Otherwise, their level of access may be considered unreasonable due to lengthy wait times.

4. Hearing Protection supplied to appropriate employees

Millions of people who work in jobs associated with exposure to noise that may impair a persons hearing. Proper hearing protection will prevent workers from getting long term hearing loss. Hearing Protection can consist of disposable hearing plugs, ear muffs and or custom (molded) hearing protection similar to CPE’s dB Blockers™. dB Blockers™ offer superior hearing protection while enabling workers to communicate clearly with each other. Learn More 

dB Blocker

5. Awareness and education for seasonal dangers

Seasonal dangers also exist that could pose safety risks. Fortunately, OSHA regularly issues updates to provide the necessary guidance, just as the organization did during hurricane season to give recommendations for blue roofs, or the practice of installing blue tarps over the affected areas of buildings with damaged roofs.

If workers have to endure extreme temperatures, employee safety means considering how to keep workers protected from the elements, such as by requiring them to wear clothes to protect them from frostbite during the winter or staying adequately hydrated during intensely hot days.

Fatigue can also be a workplace danger, especially during the busiest seasons of a year. A stockroom employee might work overtime at a retail facility during the holiday season and find that tiredness increases their risk of accidents.

Statistics from a National Safety Council survey found that 90 percent of employers recognize that fatigue impacts their organizations. Most workers feel tired at work, but less than three-quarters of them see fatigue as a safety risk. Fatigue is not only a risk during busy periods, of course, but organizations must be exceptionally aware of it during such times.

Check practices at least annually

It’s a good idea for organizations to assess the recommendations outlined here at least every year, making improvements as needed.


Original Article:

How to protect your voice and hearing from damage at the Super Bowl and other loud events

February 7, 2019

You are vulnerable to hearing loss at any loud event — even bars and parties.


After winning Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrated on the field with his 1-year-old son Baylen.

The young Brees was wearing a pint-size headset. It was more than just a fashion accessory — the football star was protecting his son’s hearing from the deafening noise of a 70,000-person stadium.

Fans at this Sunday’s Super Bowl in Atlanta would do well to follow his example.

ABC News spoke to two experts — Bernard Rousseau, Ph.D., chairman of the department of communication science and disorders at the University of Pittsburgh, and Catherine Palmer, Ph.D, director of audiology and hearing aids at UPMC — about ways to protect your voice and hearing at the Super Bowl and other loud events.

Exposure to high volume levels can damage hearing

Cheering, booing, air horns, music … there are many sources of noise at an event as large as the Super Bowl.

“Large sporting events, by nature, end up producing sounds that can injure your hearing. Everybody participating should be thinking about that,” said Palmer.

The type of stadium matters too.

“Super Bowls are usually in domed stadiums and that can help generate even more sound,” she added.

Palmer warns that even one loud event can cause damage.

“There are levels of noise that, over time, are going to produce gradual hearing loss,” she said. “You may not even notice for a couple of years … but there are also levels of noise, which are achieved at an event [like the Super Bowl], that can actually damage your hearing immediately. I think it’s important to understand that it’s permanent damage. A lot of people don’t realize that.”

At a stadium, people may not able to remove themselves from dangerous levels of noise. So earplugs are key, she said.

 A Philadelphia Eagles fan reacts prior to Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Feb. 4, 2018.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images, FILE)  A Philadelphia Eagles fan reacts prior to Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Feb. 4, 2018.

Loud noise exposure also causes more than just hearing loss.

“This kind of damage produces distortion in your hearing, sometimes ringing in your ears, and you can start to get a sensitivity to loud sounds. There are more things that go wrong than just the hearing loss,” Palmer noted.

And one is vulnerable to hearing loss at any loud event — including bars and parties.

“If you’re somewhere where they really have the music up loud, or the crowd is making lots of noise, wearing hearing protection in those situation makes good sense as well. Or move away from the noise,” she said.

Hearing aids, however, are not a fix-all solution to hearing loss.

“Although hearing aids help people tremendously, they do not fix the hearing loss,” Palmer said. “So you still have all that distortion in the system, which means even though hearing aids will help you, you’re still going to have trouble hearing in noise, even in regular noisy situations, like family parties or work situations. So there is no easy fix for this.”

She continued, “There are things called musician earplugs, which are nice because they reduce sound across all frequencies, so you can still hear accurately. But the key is to wear some kind of ear plugs.”

For little ones, an earmuff headset is the best solution.

 New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with his wife, Brittany, and son, Baylen. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, Feb. 7, 2010, in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

(Al Diaz/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images, FILE)  New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with his wife, Brittany, and son, Baylen. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, Feb. 7, 2010, in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Technology and earplugs to the rescue

Palmer suggests using a phone app to measure noise levels when at big events.

“The rule of thumb is that over 85-90 decibels (Db), we worry about you if you’re exposed for about eight hours,” she said. “But those are averages. Some people will have damage sooner and some people will be able to go longer without damage.”

She went on, “Once you’re above 110, we start to worry about more instant damage. Those are levels that are generally pretty uncomfortable. But if you’re involved in the game, or you’re having a drink, you may not notice those things as soon, so you really want to go prepared with hearing protection.”

Ask us how you can protect your hearing at Loud Events like the Superbowl!

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