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.



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.


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.




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





Hearing Loss in the Construction Industry

January 30, 2017


Construction No. 2 industry for hearing loss…

A study spanning a decade and incorporating hearing tests of more than 1.4 million American workers found that construction accounted for the second-highest prevalence of workers with a hearing impairment.(1) Every year, thousands of construction workers suffer hearing loss from excessive noise exposure on the job. Hearing loss impairs quality of life and increases the risk of injury – for instance, when a worker cannot hear approaching vehicles or warning signals.

Noise Exposure = Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) usually results from extended exposure to sound levels at or above 85 dBA.  NIOSH suggests the maximum exposure for an 8 hour period without requiring hearing protection is 85 dBA.

Although NIHL is a well-known risk in construction, government data among construction workers are limited. Since employers have no obligation to test workers’ hearing (audiometric testing) in construction, even if employees experience noise levels at or above OSHA’s PEL[1], for hearing loss in construction is rarely recognized as an occupational disease. It is not surprising, therefore, that the numbers reported to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show a very low rate of hearing loss, and for this reason hearing loss data for construction are not comparable with data for general industry.


hearing loss hearing loss

Conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the “Hearing Impairment Among Noise-Exposed Workers” study estimated the prevalence of hearing loss at six levels using hearing tests performed between 2003 and 2012. The study expressed the impact of hearing loss on quality of life as annual disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

The mining sector had the highest prevalence of workers with hearing impairment, followed by the construction and manufacturing sectors. 17% of mining workers whose hearing tests were included had one of the six levels of impairment, while 3% had moderate or worse impairment. Construction was next with 16 % of workers testing positive for any impairment and, like mining, 3 % with moderate or worse. (3)

Manufacturing rounds out the top 3 with 14 % and 2%, respectively.

The CDC estimates that mining and construction workers lost 3.45 and 3.09 healthy years per 1,000 workers, respectively, due to their occupation. This statistic is actually quite shocking; imagine losing 3 years of your life.

The CDC notes, “Current noise regulations do not require audiometric testing for construction workers. Without testing to identify workers losing their hearing, intervention might be delayed or might not occur.” Because of that, the CDC stresses the importance of proper hearing loss prevention through earplugs and other methods of protection on construction sites.

With approximately 22 million U.S. workers exposed to hazardous occupational noise, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S. and is the most common work related illness among American workers.  Being the third most common chronic condition, one would think that standards to prevent hearing loss would be stricter.

 Facts and Statistics… DID YOU KNOW!

  • 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 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.
  • There are an estimated 16 million people working in the Manufacturing Sector, which accounts for approximately 13% of the U.S. workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational hearing loss is the most commonly recorded occupational illness in manufacturing (17,700 cases out of 59,100 cases), accounting for 1 in 9 recordable illnesses. More than 72% of these occur among workers in Manufacturing. These numbers are particularly disturbing considering that a person’s hearing loss must be determined to be work-related and the hearing loss must be severe enough that the worker has become hearing impaired, in order to be OSHA-recordable. Many more workers would have measurable occupational hearing loss but would not yet have become hearing impaired.

This blog is based on a research paper by:

Masterson EA, Bushnell PT, Themann CL, Morata TC. Hearing Impairment Among Noise-Exposed Workers — United States, 2003–2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:389–394. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6515a2 (http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6515a2

[1] http://www.cpwr.com/sites/default/files/publications/CB%20page%2049.pdf
[2] Permitted Exposure Limit
[3] http://www.cpwr.com/sites/default/files/publications/CB%20page%2049.pdf