Sound Advice

March is Hearing Loss Prevention Safety month.

March 23, 2020

Occupational hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States.  Approximately 22 million U.S. workers exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, and an additional 9 million exposed to ototoxic chemicals.


An estimated $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability.

NIOSH recommends that all worker exposures to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss. NIOSH also recommends a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.

  • Four million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.
  • In 2008, approximately 2 million U.S. workers were exposed to noise levels at work that put them at risk of hearing loss.
  • In 2007, approximately 23,000 cases were reported of occupational hearing loss that was great enough to cause hearing impairment.
    Reported cases of hearing loss accounted for 14% of occupational illness in 2007.
  • In 2007, approximately 82% of the cases involving occupational hearing loss were reported among workers in the manufacturing sector.

Over the past few decades, much has been learned about the implementation of hearing loss prevention programs. The eight components of a successful hearing loss prevention program include:

1) noise exposure monitoring,

2) engineering and administrative controls,

3) audiometric evaluation,

4) use of hearing protection devices,

5) education and motivation

6) record keeping,

7) program evaluation, and

8) program audit.

ISO 9001

Don’t forget to do your part to promote awareness about Hearing Loss Prevention Safety Month!


SOURCE

Acknowledgments to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/

Seasons Greetings!

December 23, 2019

 From all of us at Custom Protect Ear…

We want at to wish you a Happy Holidays and prosperous New Year.

Thank you for making this year so great. May you and your family have a very merry holiday season and happy New Year.


PLEASE NOTE:
The Custom Protect Ear Office and Lab will be closed
December 23, 2019 and reopen (regular hours) Thursday January 2, 2020.

Business in the Gig Economy

December 13, 2019

The gig economy is coming, and the manufacturing sector needs to prepare.

The gig economy is coming, and the manufacturing sector needs to prepare.

In this type of system, independent workers are paid by the gig, typically a specific project, and when that project is complete, the worker moves on. It’s a setup that is particularly appealing to millennials and is widespread in the IT and entertainment industries.

It is expected that within the next two years millennials will become the largest portion of the workforce demographic, and many of these workers will be employed as independent contractors. This is a dramatic change from the status quo, and it requires companies to form a strategy on managing what could be a constantly changing workforce.

Gig workers have a clear understanding of the work-life balance that they want, and they put as much emphasis on the life side of the equation as they do on the work side.

But jobs in the manufacturing sector are rooted in the long-standing tradition of advancing along an established career path. While the apprentice/journeyperson/master model has been replaced by the worker/team leader/manager model in many shops, the progression still takes time and commitment from both the employee and the employer.

Gig workers simply parachute into a company for a set amount of time and then leave once the task is done.

It’s a foreign concept for many manufacturers.

In his paper “Independent Workers: What Role for Public Policy?” American economist Alan Krueger wrote that currently the number of gig economy workers in the manufacturing sector is low. However, the longer the skilled-trades gap remains an issue for manufacturers, the more desperate they will get to find any type of worker to fill open jobs.

Because the manufacturing sector is having such trouble finding workers to fill full-time jobs, the gig economy could be a way to solve this problem, at least on a project-by-project basis.

Hearing protection

To survive in the gig economy, manufacturers must blaze their own trail and not try to copy other sectors.

No matter what type of worker is employed, a focus on productivity and quality still must be maintained.

In the gig economy, manufacturers should focus on a worker’s skill set and ability to mesh with a team, rather than the amount of time they will stay with the company.

JOE THOMPSON, EDITOR

jthompson@canadianmetalworking.com


SOURCE

https://www.canadianmetalworking-digital.com/canadianmetalworking/december_2019/MobilePagedArticle.action?articleId=1544279&app=false#articleId1544279

The Not-So-Quiet Dangers of Hearing Loss

June 4, 2019

Take steps to prevent hearing damage in the workplace before it happens.

Some of the most prevalent workplace hazards aren’t seen—they’re heard. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to damaging noise levels at work, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workplace-related hearing loss is the most commonly reported injury.

It’s not surprising, then, that hearing loss disability accounts for an estimated $242 million in workers’ compensation payments each year, according to the Department of Labor.

Approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 15% of those aged 20 to 65 are living with some level of noise-induced hearing loss.

Noises over 85 decibels (dB) warrant the use of protection. For reference, normal talking is 60 dB, city traffic is 85 dB and a rock concert or a tractor is about 100-115 dB. Without proper protection, prolonged noise exposure in a factory setting can compound the hearing loss incurred from everyday noises.

Because hearing damage is cumulative and permanent, it is vital—and in many cases required—for businesses to protect their workers’ hearing, especially for those with a workforce exposed to loud machinery, power tools, and heavy equipment. In this article, we’ll examine the top industries affected by hearing loss and identify opportunities to minimize noise through hearing conservation programs.

INDUSTRIES MOST AFFECTED BY HEARING LOSS

hearing at work

From office environments to busy construction sites, workplace hearing loss is a reality for many industries. However, there are workers in certain roles who are at increased risk of hearing damage, and the needs of these employees should be more closely monitored and accommodated.

Hearing Loss in the Manufacturing Industry

For workers in the manufacturing industry, hearing loss is the most commonly recorded occupational injury. Between compressed air, which is an estimated 92 dB, and loud machinery like grinders, drills and milling machines, which typically hit dB levels 95 and above, it’s important for employers to take extra care to protect workers’ hearing.

Hearing Loss in the Construction, Carpentry and Mining Industries

Loud power tools also make workers in construction, carpentry and mining industries particularly susceptible to hearing loss. In fact, some tools, like a jackhammer, can reach up to 130 dB—more than 45 dB above the recommended limit. When exposed to these sounds for extended periods of time during a shift, the risk of hearing damage increases.

Likewise, miners are regularly exposed to sounds related to drilling into rock in a confined work environment, and as a result most miners have some form of hearing loss by the time they retire, according to the CDC.
Other industries most commonly affected by hearing loss include entertainment and nightlife, military, agriculture and farming.

WORKPLACE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH HEARING LOSS

Hearing is the body’s built-in alarm system and plays a vital role in protecting a person from physical harm. Hearing picks up on possible dangers that may not be visible yet, like the sound of an approaching truck or the clanging of a broken machine. However, when hearing is compromised, the built-in alarm system isn’t as effective and may not pick up on incoming dangers as quickly, putting workers at risk.

Workplace accidents are common among workers with hearing damage due to reduced situational awareness or the inability to hear a warning siren or signal.

The risks associated with hearing loss don’t stop there. Not only does hearing loss contribute to workplace-related issues, but it can also take a toll on an employee’s quality of life. Hearing loss is permanent, and as it worsens, it can make interpersonal communication difficult and frustrating, putting a strain on relationships. In addition, ringing in the ears associated with hearing loss can be disruptive to normal sleep patterns and concentration, which sometimes can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and stress. All of these factors may contribute to underperformance or dissatisfaction at work.

hearing protection

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT

When it comes to hearing loss, prevention is key. Almost all work-related hearing loss is cumulative and permanent, so it’s important for employers to take steps to prevent damage before it happens.

A great step in preventing work-related hearing damage is to implement a hearing conservation program. Not only do these programs protect workers from occupational hearing loss, but they can also play a role in increasing employees’ sense of well-being and reduce the incidence of stress-related disease. Stress decreases blood flow that helps hair cells within the ear work properly. Therefore, reducing workers’ stress can help maintain the overall health of the ear.

Hearing conservation is an OSHA mandate that requires companies to take action and institute occupational noise and hearing conservation programs for employees who work in areas where the probable exposure to noise equals or exceeds an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) sound level of 85 dB.

An effective hearing conservation program includes regular, ongoing sound monitoring, audiograms, employee training and protective equipment.

Regular, Ongoing Sound Monitoring

Sound level meters and dosimeters are two important elements of an effective hearing conservation program. Sound level meters measure sound intensity at a specific moment, while dosimeters measure a person’s average exposure to noise over a period of time. Employers can monitor and record sound levels throughout the workplace to help employees understand areas where the risk of hearing loss may be higher.

Audiograms

An effective hearing conservation program includes taking a baseline audiogram, which takes place 14 hours or more after the employee was last exposed to occupational noise. Following the baseline audiogram, annual audiograms should be performed to record any changes. These results should be analyzed and compared to previous tests to provide insights into how an employee’s hearing has changed. These changes are recorded as a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) if the loss is greater than a certain level.

An STS is a detectable change in hearing when compared to the baseline audiogram. If a shift is identified, an employer is required to inform the employee within 21 days and refer them to an audiologist for follow-up testing and possible treatment. This also is a good opportunity for both employers and employees to assess hearing protection methods and make any needed changes.

Employee Training

Training workers is another essential step to educating a workforce about the risks associated with hearing loss and the importance of prevention. At a minimum, employers should conduct an annual noise training with all employees, but regular reminders throughout the year are also recommended. For example, hanging educational posters and noise maps, which highlight decibel levels throughout the workplace, is a great way to remind employees throughout the year to take steps to mitigate hearing damage.

It can also be helpful to offer one-on-one educational sessions with individual employees who may be exposed to louder noises on a regular basis.

Protective Equipment

db BlockersIn addition to monitoring and training, employers must also provide workers with suitable equipment to protect hearing while at work. In fact, this is an OSHA requirement for workplaces where the noise levels meet or exceed 85 dB.

There are a wide variety of options when it comes to hearing protection devices and employers can often find several appropriate options that fit the needs of employees and the workplace. Examples include earplugs and earmuffs that come in a wide variety of different styles, like disposable, custom molded and reusable, to fit employers’ and employees’ preferences.


SOURCE

Reed Erickson | EHS Today

When it comes to safety, nothing is common sense

May 8, 2019

Woman’s business helps companies stay OSHA compliant

by Joe Gamm

There is no such thing as common sense.

osha-safetyWhat is obvious to one person may not be obvious to another, according to Bethany Graves (Watson), a consultant specializing in occupational safety based out of Jefferson City. Graves specializes in helping companies conform to Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. 

 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines

Graves recently presented a program to the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, in which she explained the agency’s requirements, including employer and employee responsibilities, record keeping, training, and written programs.

She explained some of OSHA’s standards and guidelines.
The organization has a lot of guidelines. It must, Graves said, if it is to keep workers safe from harm. Despite OSHA’s work, more than 4,500 U.S. workers die in work-related incidents in private industry every year. For calendar year 2017, there were 4,674 worker fatalities. Of those, 971 (one in five) were in construction. The leading cause of private-sector worker deaths in construction (excluding highway collisions) were falls, then “struck by an object,” electrocution and “caught in or between.”

According to the agency website, osha.gov, the top 10 most frequently cited standards violations in 2017 were lack of fall protection, failure to provide hazard communication, failure to meet scaffolding requirements, lack of adequate respiratory protection, lack of lockouts or other controls to prevent electrocution, improper use of ladders, violations of “powered industrial trucks” (or forklifts) regulations, lack of fall prevention training, failure to provide machine guards (to keep employees from moving parts), and eye or face protection.

On its website, the agency provides its guidelines for all industries in a 270-page document. Additional training information may be found elsewhere, according to the document.

The agency divides its safety guidelines into four categories, Graves said, general industry (which is generally made up of businesses that are static and do not fall into the other categories), agriculture, construction and maritime.

“Each industry has specific requirements,” said Graves, whose company, 365 Safety Services, does safety consulting for companies. “Some standards (within those industries) have even more requirements.” For example, within fall protection standards, there is what is called the “competent person,” who is responsible for the fall protection program and equipment and making sure everyone is using it properly.

The website also provides safety and training materials.

Graves helps businesses prepare for what happens if the agency does an inspection, tells them about how it works and explains businesses record-keeping requirements.

Safety Glasses

Basically, OSHA says employers must train their employees on everything — even how to put on safety glasses.

“If they’ve never done it before, you do,” she said. “The big thing is teaching employees the limitations of those glasses. When you’re grinding, you need to have a face shield on, too. So, it’s the limitations of the types of protective equipment.”

Hearing Protection

If someone has never hammered a nail into a board, and that’s their new job, they need to be trained how to do that, she said. In noisy work environments, where ear protection is necessary, an employer has to train the employees on how to install earplugs. in some cases, it is vital to hearing safety that proper wearing instructions of custom hearing prodBBlocker ducts also be applied. 

“You need to train them in where earplugs are required in the facility or on a construction job site, or on when the employee is using specific tools or equipment,” she said.

She suggested if employers aren’t certain if hearing protection is required that they go online and download a noise app for their phones. There is a variety of such apps on the App Store for prices ranging from $1-$20. If the app produces a reading over 90 decibels, the employer may need to do a noise level survey, which basically determines an average of the noise over eight hours.

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection is determined in a similar survey.

Proactive companies that have components of respiratory hazards have very particular requirements for respiratory tests. They require new employees to fill out an extensive medical questionnaire, receive a pulmonary function test and be examined by a physician.

“All industries might need it, including construction,” Graves said. “The smart companies have baseline hearing tests done upon hiring of a new employee. If they already have hearing loss — let’s say they like to four-wheel, shoot guns and listen to loud rock and roll — they may have already experienced some hearing loss. That’s on the record and not attributable to the company.”

Graves said she always recommends that companies, except for those with an office atmosphere, do hearing tests.

Inspections/Compliance and Consultations

OSHA has two sides — inspections/compliance and consultations. The consultation side will come into a facility for free and do a comprehensive assessment if requested. The organization will then write up a report and tell the company what it needs to improve on.

OSHA isn’t the scary organization many people make it out to be, Graves said.

“They’ve evolved a lot even since I’ve been involved in safety,” she said. “They used to focus on the compliance side. Now, they focus a lot on the company side of things. They want to provide consultations. They want you to train your employees. They provide online training. And they’ll come out and train as well.”

Inspection Process 

  1.  Companies should never know when OSHA is going to show up for an inspection. It is illegal for the agency to notify a company of an impending inspection. There are numerous reasons the agency may show up at a work site or company — if there were a fatality, if the agency received an employee complaint, if the business were the site of a serious injury where someone was overnight hospitalized, if there was an amputation or even because it’s part of the agency’s local emphasis. If OSHA sees a rise in certain kinds of work-related injuries, it may focus on a particular industry. “One year, they focused on funeral homes. Why would they focus on funeral homes?” Graves asked. “Formaldehyde. People were being exposed to formaldehyde.”
  2. Upon arrival at a site for an inspection, OSHA officials would begin by showing their credentials. They would then conduct an “opening conference” to tell the employer why they are there, such as one of the aforementioned causes.
  3. The third part of the visit is the inspection itself. “I’ve known companies that — on the inspection — (investigators) just said, ‘We want to see your OSHA logbook,’” Graves said. “They may just want to see your paperwork.” Or they may simply want to see one portion of a plant. On the other hand, inspectors can also observe from across the street for two days and then walk in, completely unannounced. “Maybe they just saw a job site that looked terrible — a guy working on a third-story roof with no fall protection,” Graves said. “That’s terrible. That’s what’s called ‘imminent danger.’ In that case, they probably wouldn’t sit across the street for two days. They would actually go up right then. “They don’t want anyone to die on the job.”
  4. The fourth step of an inspection is called the closing conference. It doesn’t happen at the time of the inspection. The inspector takes the data back to an area director, who determines which citation, if any, will be issued to a company and the fine associated with it.

bethany graves

About Bethany Graves – a consultant specializing in occupational safety 

Graves said that when she’s consulting with companies, she talks about safety not only within the workplace, but also at home. A person can just as easily receive a serious injury at home as they can at work, and that would prevent them from receiving a paycheck.

Young people coming into a construction company who have never used a hammer or saw before may just want a paycheck, Graves said. They don’t realize that what they do today is going to affect them for the rest of their lives, especially if they maim or seriously hurt themselves.

“I’m very passionate about safety. I always feel like no one should go to work and not come home,” she said. “What’s common sense to you is not common sense to me.

“One thing I hear from employers is, ‘It’s just common sense. He should know not to do that.’ I don’t believe anything is common sense.”


What is OSHA

OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA’s administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.

Westone Acquires North America’s Largest Custom-Fit Industrial Hearing Protection Manufacturer

March 12, 2019

For Immediate Release

Westone

 

 

Westone Laboratories
2235 Executive Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
www.Westone.com

Westone Acquires North America’s Largest Custom-Fit Industrial Hearing Protection Manufacturer

Colorado Springs, CO – February 14, 2019 – In partnership with their principal investment group, HealthEdge Investment Partners, Westone Laboratories, Inc., a market leader in custom earpieces, high performance in-ear monitoring technology and hearing protection, announced it has closed on its acquisition of Custom Protect Ear, the largest custom-fit industrial hearing protection manufacturer in North America.

Zubin Meshginpoosh, President and Chief Commercial Officer of Westone shared, “We are delighted to join forces with Custom Protect Ear, the most trusted brand in custom-fit hearing protection used by hundreds of industrial clients across a wide variety of industries.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, Chairman, and CEO of Custom Protect Ear added, “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is an epidemic in the workplace, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to eradicate it. This partnership with Westone allows us to expand our geographic reach, increase the pace of innovation and have a positive impact on more lives.”

Custom Protect Ear’s management team and operations will remain headquartered in Vancouver, BC with an operating subsidiary, ProtectEar USA, based in the United States.


About Westone

Established in 1959, Westone Laboratories is celebrating 60 years of delivering custom earpieces that protect and enhance hearing, facilitate communication, and support hearing healthcare professionals. The largest manufacturer of custom earpieces in the world with both hearing healthcare and music specialists on our research, development and production teams, Westone is recognized as a leading innovator across the custom earplug, hearing protection, and music industries. Westone is a proud partner of the United States Military providing specially designed communication-enabled and hearing protection earpieces for service members and first-responders around the world. It is our people, our experience, and our products that truly make Westone “The In-Ear Experts®.” For more information, visit Westone.com or contact Jeff Ipson at (719) 540-9333.

About Custom Protect Ear

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Custom Protect Ear was founded in 1976 and provides effective, verifiable, and noise level matched industrial hearing protection to over 4,500 corporate clients worldwide across a wide range of industries including distribution, manufacturing, machining, energy, packaging, public safety & security, transportation, and food. CPE is a certified and compliant ISO 9001 manufacturer that incorporates both traditional handcrafted manufacturing processes and leading-edge 3D printing technology. Known for their product quality and customer service, CPE utilizes a custom fitting process performed by highly trained technicians to personalize every protective earpiece to each user then backs it with a ‘FitRight Guarantee’ and industry-leading warranty program. For more information, visit ProtectEar.com

About HealthEdge Investment Partners

HealthEdge Investment Partners, LLC is an operating-oriented private equity firm founded in 2005 that focuses exclusively on the healthcare industry. HealthEdge seeks to achieve superior returns by investing in businesses that benefit from the knowledge, experience, and network of relationships of its partners. HealthEdge’s partners have more than 100 years of combined operating experience in healthcare as CEOs and investors. For more information on HealthEdge, please visit HealthEdgepartners.com or contact Elizabeth Breslin at (813) 490-7104.

OUCH! Its Cold out there so protect your hearing…

January 2, 2019

Hearing protection in cold weather.  Are you trying to keep your ears warm and also protected from noise exposure?

winter-worker

These tips from an audiologist can help.

Cold weather can present unique challenges for hearing health and safety. Workers can be exposed to potentially hazardous noises in industries across British Columbia, from avalanche control to oil and gas, drilling, road construction, and forestry, among others. When equipment and tasks are at odds with hearing protection, workers risk permanent hearing damage and loss.

“Hearing loss occurs when hair cells in the inner ear are permanently damaged due to repeated exposure to hazardous noise, regardless of the type of noise,” says Sasha Brown, the occupational audiologist in WorkSafeBC’s Risk Analysis Unit.

“Both the level or intensity of noise, and the duration or amount of time someone is exposed to noise interact to create the hazard. This is why it is essential for employers to have a hearing conservation program and provide appropriate hearing protection equipment to workers.”

Heli-ski guides are particularly at risk of developing hearing loss because their work involves being in close proximity to helicopters. When the mountains become frosted with snow, they help clients get into the backcountry to chase fresh powder and adventure.

Along with the excitement of this line of work, comes exposure to sound levels of around 100 decibels (dBA) from the helicopters they need to work in and around for long periods of time.

What is a safe level of noise?

Noise hazards are calculated by combining the dBA — the intensity of a sound measured in decibels on a sound-level meter — with the duration of time someone is exposed to the noise, Brown explains. Noise levels that exceed 85 dBA over an eight-hour time period are hazardous and could cause noise-induced hearing loss.

“Because decibels are a logarithmic scale, a three-decibel increase in noise doubles the amount of exposure.”

88 dBA is safe for 4 hours

91 dBA is safe for 2 hours

94 dBA is safe for 1 hour

97 dBA is safe for 30 minutes

102.4 dBA is safe for 8 minutes and 37 seconds


Safety talk

November / December 2018 | WorkSafe Magazine 17

“Heli-ski guides face additional risks because they are required to interact with their clients and listen for signs of avalanche danger,” says Brown. “This makes it difficult for guides to wear hearing protection throughout their entire work shifts. They, therefore, need hearing protection that can be easily placed and removed at will. “A further complication is that guides are required to wear ski helmets, and most noise-reducing earmuffs are not designed to fit around ski helmets. Guides might feel that they cannot wear both a helmet and hearing protection.”

heli skiing

The key, says Brown, is to understand the risks of hazardous noise exposure and protect yourself using the right hearing protection for your line of work. Heli-ski guides should use at least Class B-rated hearing protection because of the intensity and duration of noise to which they are exposed. In other industries, it may be necessary to test out different types of hearing protection to find the option that works best for you and your job.

Five tips you should know about protecting your hearing:

  1. Know your options for hearing protection. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hearing protection. Investigate and test several different options with your employer to find the right fit for your hearing-protection and work requirements.
  2. Get an annual hearing test. This is an important way to gather information about whether your hearing protection is working effectively. Changes in your hearing ability could indicate a need to make some adjustments to your hearing protection, including its style, fit, and duration of use.
  3. Know the hazards of noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is both permanent and preventable. It has also been linked to cognitive decline and dementia, and can lead to social isolation. Get to know the risks associated with noise exposure, including the relationship between hearing loss and sound volume and duration of exposure. And always use sound protection when working around noises that exceed 85 dBA.
  4. Use well-fitted hearing protection. Hearing-protection needs vary by sector. If you choose to protect your hearing with earmuffs and also work in cold temperatures, you may need to remove your toque or beanie to ensure a proper earmuff seal — a thick toque can reduce hearing protection by up to 24 dBA. If you need to wear a helmet, make sure your earmuffs and helmet are compatible and do not compromise the earmuff seal. You may also opt for semi-insert canal caps or earplugs that fit underneath toques. These should not require a specific type of helmet.
  5. Frequently inspect your hearing protection. Work that involves a high degree of physicality and that takes place in an outdoor setting can speed up wear and tear on hearing protection. To prevent overexposure to noise from faulty or damaged equipment, inspect your hearing protection before each use.

Download PDF Here

For more information, search for “hearing loss prevention” or “heli-ski guide” on worksafebc.com .

Tips for protecting your hearing during the festivities.

December 14, 2018

Its that time of the year again. 

As a Hearing Conservation company we wanted to provide you with a few tips for protecting your hearing during the festivities:

  • Try to reduce as much background noise as possible. If you are having a conversation with a small group of people in a larger party, try to break off into a smaller section of the room that may not be as loud. Choose the calmest section of a restaurant or party to socialize in.
  • Sit in the center of the dinner table so you are close to people all around you. If you sit at the end of a long table, your chances of hearing the folks at the end of the table are minimal.
  • Try to keep good lighting to facilitate your ability to rely on facial cues to help fill in the blanks when you mishear something. We all lipread a bit. 
  • If the music is too loud at a party – as it often is – don’t hesitate to ask for the volume to reduced slightly or pull out your reliable dB Blockers to block some of that unwanted noise. 

You shouldn’t have to think about hearing over the holidays, however, if you find yourself constantly working hard to hear, or relying heavily on the tips above, it is time to have a hearing test. Contact us and we can help you protect your ears! 

Happy-Holidays-[Converte

Holiday Season Hours:

CLOSED

 Friday, December 21, 2018  -10:30 am – Tuesday, January 1, 2019 
will reopen under regular hours Wednesday, January 2, 2019

OPENED (HOLIDAY HOURS) 

Thursday, December 27th, & Friday, December 28th, 2018 –  8:00 am to 3:00 pm (PST)

Inquiries may be made at hear@protectear.com

From all of us at Custom Protect Ear –

Happy Holidays!

Hearing Loss from Loud Noise: Festivities and Celebrations

November 13, 2018

Hearing Loss from Loud Noise

Contrary to popular belief, excess noise can be more than just an annoyance; it can actually be classified as a danger.  Noise can be unsafe when it’s too loud, especially when exposed for long periods of time, but also for short ones.  These types of noises can cause noise-induced hearing loss, also known as NIHL.  NIHL happens when excessive and/or loud noise damages the sensitive structures of the inner ear.  This process could take a while to set in or it may happen instantly; it may be momentary or it may be everlasting, there is no sure way to tell. 

There are, however, a number of activities that can be avoided in order to minimize your chances of developing noise-induced hearing loss.  Listening to headphones too loudly, shooting ranges/hunting, playing in a band, attending too many loud concerts and motorcycling are all actions that should be evaded in order to decrease your chances of obtaining NIHL.

And long exposure to loud noise can lead to tinnitus (buzzing sound in the ear), which can further lead to psychological problems in people.  Besides issues with hearing, insomnia, irregular blood pressure and fluctuating sugar levels can also be a result of exposure to loud noise. Doctors see constant headaches, mood disturbance, anger, and irritability as well among patients.

Most of the loudspeakers, as well as woofers that are played, have a sound of more than 100 decibels, which can lead to hearing troubles. Therefore, people should make sure they are not too close to loudspeakers during celebrations. Besides noise from loudspeakers, vehicular noise pollution affects the traffic police as they are constantly exposed to loud honking. Use of earplugs can help reduce the volume they are exposed to by 20 decibels. The use of dB Blockers can not only reduce the noise exposure but they can also contain a proprietary frequency tuned filter which allows interpersonal communication without removal. Learn More about dB Blockers. 

While there is a time limit for use of loudspeakers, there is no authority to monitor their volume. Stringent measures should be taken by the government to control noise pollution. The traffic department could put up ‘No Honking’ and ‘Reduce Noise’ signboards in specific areas close to hospitals, schools, and homes. It is also important to create awareness among the people about the effects of loud noise and excessive honking.

 

Hearing Loss from Loud Noise: Festivities and Celebrations

What Decibel Level Causes Hearing Loss?

In order to avoid these dangerous sounds the best you can, you have to understand them the best you can.  Decibels are how sounds are measured.  Sounds of 76 decibels or more are unlikely to cause hearing loss, even when exposed for lengthy periods of time.  That being said, long exposure to (or repeated) sounds of 85 decibels and above can most definitely cause hearing loss.  The louder the sound gets will increase the chance of you receiving noise-induced hearing loss.

Here are a few examples of common decibel levels:

  • Refrigerator – 45 decibels
  • Conversation – 60 decibels
  • Motorcycle – 95 decibels
  • Headphones at maximum volume – 105 decibels
  • Firecrackers and gunshots – 150 decibels

Luckily, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) are in deep with the research on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of this type of hearing loss.  Though NIHL isn’t the most common form of hearing loss, nor is it the most dangerous, however, it isn’t to be underestimated.  Please take careful notice of this growing issue and adjust your listening closely.

 

FUN FACTS

New York City:

New York City is by far the most populous city in all of North America, at an estimated population of over 8.4 million people in 2013. The city is projected to have 55.8 million tourists in 2014, bringing in almost 153,000 extra people per day. In addition to the people, the constant yellow taxis, street construction, car alarms, nightclubs, subways and planes are enough to give any resident a constant headache. Mayor Bloomburg has even begun requiring police to set up checkpoints with handheld noise meters and to issue fines to those who violate noise policies.

Hyderabad: 

On Diwali day, the particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) increased by 61 percent in Hyderabad and PM10 increased by 34 percent according to monitoring units assessed by Telangana State Pollution Control Board. PM2.5 was found to be 68 percent of PM10 when crackers were burst, whereas on normal days it was found to be 57 percent. 

Now that we have Diwali and Halloween under our belt for 2018; there is still at least 2 more months of celebrations.  With the several festivals around the corner, noise pollution could become a major challenge in the city. The increasing number of vehicles on the roads already contribute to the noise pollution in a big way. It’s high time we did something about this as some doctors & audiologist have seen an increase of eight to 10 patients every month with a hearing problem and this figure is rising due to lack of awareness.


Sources

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/091118/hyderabad-high-pollution-noise-recorded-on-diwali.html

https://citiquiet.com/the-top-10-noisiest-cities-in-the-world-2/

6 Health & Safety Workplace trends for 2018

January 11, 2018

With 2017 behind us, Health and Safety in the workplace still appear to be one of the leading overhead expenses and key issues amongst employers and companies.

Those companies facing challenges of Health and Safety continue to struggle as they move into the New Year. It is important for Employers that already have existing Health and Safety Standards, plans and programs in place, to maintain their momentum by taking time to consider other H & S challenges that may also impact their workplace.

The challenges companies face may be part of the following trends:

  1. Increased Focus on Employee Health and Wellness

 Stress has become a fact of life for today’s average employee—whether it is caused by increasing workplace demands, a changing industrial workforce organizational environment, or economic hardships. Stress in the workplace is an ongoing trend that seems to impact employees and employers in all workplace settings.

“With 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck and student loan debt at over $1.4 trillion, workers are struggling and it’s affecting their health. Workers are stressed out, burned out and it’s affecting not only their productivity but their satisfaction on the job.”

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health continues to emphasize that work-related stress disorders are expected to rise as the economy continues to undergo various shifts and impacts. Therefore, companies should take steps to ensure that any current programs are robust enough to reduce the concerns associated with stress in the workplace, as well as implement any new programs that show an increased effectiveness at reducing the generation of stress.

  1. Capturing the Voice of the Employee: 

Employees’ voices will become more important to organizations this year as they focus on collecting employee feedback more employee feedback frequently, utilizing innovations for capturing that feedback, and acting to drive engagement based on those results. In 2016 & 2017 more organizations implemented some sort of Employee Engagement program to capture the employee voice and concern through a series of quantitative surveys and continuous listening/pulse surveys and examining passive data for employee opinions and behaviors. As the workforce shifts from one generation to the next, we will see an increase in Employee Engagement and Feedback.

  1. Companies will focus on upskilling and retraining current workers: 

“While the political discussion is focused on bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, and the news media continues to publish articles on how automation will eliminate jobs, what we should really be focused on is the growing skills gap. There are currently 6.2 million job openings in America that are unfilled, which is up from 5.6 million during the same time in 2016. Companies can’t find the right workers,  that have the right skills, at the right time, which has slowed growth in the economy. Employers will be investing more money into their training and development programs in 2018 to fill their skills gaps and reach their full capacity.”

  1. Leveraging Big Data to Make Data-Driven Risk Management Decisions

Big data has been one of the biggest organizational buzz words for several years, but data is not of much use without acting on it. This year, we will see organizations work to tie all their data to workforce planning to make better, informed business and workforce decisions. Data-based strategic decision making will go beyond data analytics to create meaningful data-based action plans.

“2017 saw a continued trend in developing internal risk management programs and systems, and 2018 looks to be the year where many of these programs are leveraged for results across the company spectrum. In other words, sufficient time has occurred for the internal development of risk management data and effectiveness that this can now be translated directly into specific areas of the business to further reduce inherent risk development within the company.”1

  1. Addressing the Changing Nature of the Workforce:  

As Baby Boomers continue to retire and younger generations enter the workforce, organizations’ demographics will evolve, with industrail workforce lasting implications for organizational culture and management. Millennials and later generations have reshaped the workplace in a multitude of ways and will continue to push boundaries and redefine expectations as they take on a more prominent role within organizations. Organizations may need to continue to redesign jobs and workspace to accommodate Millennials.

  1. Safety Personnel Hiring Requirements

Over the past few years, we have seen a projected increase in the demand for safety personnel at all levels. Several different types of roles have entered the market specializing in the Occupational Health and Safety niche. These roles will replace operational and human resource roles and consist of some of these titles:

Occupational Health Safety Officer

  • Occupational Safety and Health Specialist.
  • health & Safety Safety Engineer.
  • Safety Consultant.
  • Coordinator of Loss Control.
  • Safety Manager.
  • Risk Manager.
  • Industrial Hygienist

In 2018 we are expected to see these roles become more specific to hiring requirements as many companies evaluate the need for an emphasis on education or experience. For larger companies, the distinction may not be apparent but the difference could be impactful for smaller companies or those in unique circumstances.

As we have seen the workplace dynamics shift over the past decade the one thing that is consistent: organizations are finding ways to improve the health and wellness of their employees in all industries. As we embark on new technology such as automation, artificial intelligence and 3D software, the one constant that remains is that implementation and usage still require people to operate and manage, creating a different type of skilled workforce and employees. As this need becomes more prominent and clear – more organizations will invest in and retain their workforce.

The ProtectEar Team


SOURCE

https://workforceinstitute.org/5-workplace-trends-youll-see-in-2018/

https://www.proformasafety.com/hse-trends-to-expect-in-2018/

https://www.ishn.com/articles/105531-top-10-workplace-trends-list-for-2017

1 https://www.proformasafety.com/hse-trends-to-expect-in-2018/