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/

Why more companies and individuals are choosing custom hearing protection!

Many people use ear plugs for different reasons. While some people need ear plugs to be able to sleep well, others need them due to workspace loud noise. Even others need to use ear plugs when they swim, to prevent earaches or swimmer’s ear. Some use them simply because they want to enjoy listening to music with no outside noise interference. No matter which category fits your needs, ear plugs can work well for these different situations.

However, there are many different types of ear plugs and they don’t all work the same way or even how you may anticipate they work. One of the main reasons why most people purchase earplugs is to protect their hearing. This is a good thing. However, with so many earplug options out there, it may be difficult to identify the best ones for you. It is important to consider the differences between custom ear plugs and disposable ear-plugs.

What Is A Custom-Molded Ear plug?

dB Blockers™ are a custom-molded earplug is made in a laboratory. A mold is taken of each ear using silicone. dB Blocker™ personalized custom earplugs are made with medical grade silicone material providing a finished product that allow dB Blocker™ earplugs to easily insert into the ear and comfortably, fully fit the ear canal. When the ear or the ear canal slightly changes by talking, chewing, yawning, etc., dB Blockers™ will adapt to the movement.

One of the most recognized and worn custom hearing protection in North America is the dB Blocker™.  dB Blockers™ are hearing protectors made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, giving the wearer a custom fit earplug that can be worn all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation.

What Is A Disposable Ear plug?

Unlike the custom ear plugs, disposable ear plugs are usually made with foam. These kinds of ear plugs can be used once or more times, depending on the manufacturer.

Benefits of dB Blockers over Disposables

dB Blockers™

  • dB Blockers™ hearing protectors fit each employee exactly – eliminating ear pressure
  • Enhance communication in noise on the phone or in conversation
  • Allows the employee to hear warning sounds
  • SkinSoft™ hypoallergenic, non-flammable silicone blend

Disposable Earplugs

  • The fit and level of protection will be different for every employee
  • Removal of the hearing protection is required to communicate
  • Prone to ear infections and flammable
  • Disposable earplugs swell when in contact with water or perspiration
  • Since the hearing protection required varies from worker to worker, some may feel cut off and expose them to greater risk or injury

Why Should You Choose Custom Ear Plugs Instead Of Disposable Ear Plugs?

Custom ear plugs have many advantages when compared to the disposable ear plugs. Despite they also have some disadvantages as everything, the risk-reward is much better when you choose to go with the custom ones.

Protect Ear

Custom Ear Plugs Advantages:

  • Quality:

Since the custom-molded ear plugs are created with the use of molds of the ears and ear canals, this brings additional quality to this product. They are usually able to cancel the noise and prevent the swimmer’s ear much more effectively than the disposal ear plugs.

  • Material:

The soft silicone is usually the best material in what concerns ear plugs. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t foam ear plugs that work well. However, when you have a silicone ear plug, they usually last much longer if you follow the manufacturer instructions. Usually, when you need to clean the ear plug, all that it takes are a few seconds under warm water.

  • Size:

One of the best advantages is that when you buy a custom ear plug, you can be sure that it will fit your ear and ear canal. Even if you have an ear with an unusual shape due to a surgery, disease, or trauma, they will more likely fit you and comply with their purpose.

Normal custom-molded ear plugs are able to provide a Noise Reduction Rating of between 25 to 30 dB. However, some more expensive models can include filters that allow you to increase the NRR. For example, if your work on a very noisy environment like a construction site, for example, you can add the filter to make sure you are able to work without hurting your hearing.

  • Comfort:

Custom-molded ear plugs are much more comfortable than the disposable ear plugs. Since they were made based on the ear and ear canal, you won’t feel any pressure. All that you’ll feel is the same as when you’re using a watch or a ring.

dbblocker
  • Putting Them On And Taking Off:

One of the main problems people have when they’re using a custom-molded ear plug is how to properly put them on and take them off. Since you’ll need to do some rotations, it might be a little hard on the first few times. However, manufacturers usually deliver all the instructions you need and you’ll be able to learn them very quickly.

  • Price:

Usually, there’s a tendency for the custom-molded ear plugs to be more expensive than the disposable ear plugs. However, you need to look at both the price and time they will last. And when you compare both features, you’ll realize that from a environmental, comfort and cost perspective you will see that the custom hearing protectors out way disposable hearing protectors.

Learn how you can get a pair of dB Blockers! 

 

Tone down loud jobs to save your hearing!

March 12, 2020

Is your work environment too loud?

If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone three feet away, noise levels may be above 85 decibels, which can be troublesome, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Noise may be a workplace problem if you hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work; if you have to shout to be heard by co-workers; or experience hearing loss when leaving work.”

 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offers a downloadable “Sound Level Meter App” for mobile iOS devices that measures workplace sound levels, and provides “noise exposure parameters” to help reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss. Download App. 

Audiologist Dr. Susan Rogan, Susan Rogan Hearing, who practices in LaGrange Park, advises employees to protect their ears by wearing ear plugs or noise-reducing headphones.  Limit exposure to loud environments, and position yourself away from any amplified sound when possible.

Extremely loud sounds, even for a short period of time, can cause permanent hearing loss to the sensitive inner ear, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders:

“Your distance from the source of the sound, and the length of time you’re exposed to the sound are important to protecting your hearing.  Noise induced hearing loss can be immediate or it can take a long time to be noticeable.  It can be temporary or permanent, and affect one or both ears.  Avoid noises that are too loud, too close, or for too long.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to have a hearing conservation program in place if workers are exposed to loud noises, and to provide hearing protection, information, and training.

CPE hearing

Hearing Conservation Programs

Hearing conservation programs strive to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices necessary to safeguard themselves.

Employers are required to measure noise levels; provide free annual hearing exams, hearing protection, and training; and conduct evaluations of the adequacy of the hearing protectors in use (unless changes made to tools, equipment, and schedules result in worker noise exposure levels that are less than the 85 dBA). Research indicates that workplaces with appropriate and effective hearing conservation programs have higher levels of worker productivity and a lower incidence of absenteeism.

Based on these facts/ stats the industry is seeing a shift from disposable hearing protection to custom hearing protection. The benefits for both the wearer and the employer out way disposable ear plugs – they are:

Cost

Products like dB Blockers™ are much less expensive to use than disposable earplugs or muffs. The employer will save up to 60% over 5 years on a program when an entire facility is fit. The cost per month for dB Blockers™ is lower because you can wear them for 5 years.

Protect Ear

Comfort

Also, dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, this gives the worker a custom hearing protector (earplug) that they can wear all day long.

Compliance

CPE pouch

One of the problems of any hearing loss prevention program is getting people to wear hearing protection products and policing their use. However, with dB Blockers™ this is easy because if they are comfortable. Because they are custom molded, they only fit the correct way, like a key in a lock so it is not necessary to check insertion.

Communication

The proprietary frequency tuned filter allows communication without removal. People can communicate in noise better while wearing their dB Blockers™ hearing protection than if they were to remove them. Your hearing loss prevention program will not interfere with productivity.

Environment / Social Impact

Lastly disposables are non recycle-able or compostable so they leave a dent in the environment. Custom hearing products are made to last and will not leave a negative impact on our environment.

Learn more – Get Fitted for your own pair of Custom Hearing Protection


SOURCE

Susan Rogan Hearing : 419 N. La Grange Road, La Grange Park, IL 60526 : 708.588.0155 :www.susanroganhearing.com.  (This new Downers Grove location is coming soon:  1501 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515 : 630.969.1677)

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/hearingprograms.html

2020 International Women’s Day #BecauseOfYou

March 5, 2020

March 8, 2020 is International Women’s Day

#becauseofyou

Empowering women and girls to equally participate in economic, social and political life benefits people of all genders. It increases economic prosperity, promotes peace and security, upholds fairness and justice in our society, and ultimately creates happier and healthier communities.

Join us in celebrating this year’s theme #BecauseOfYou, which pays tribute to the diverse and inspirational gender equality change-makers we know in our own lives.

This International Women’s Day:

  • Tell us about your family members, colleagues, friends, mentors and community leaders who are helping advance gender equality using the hashtag #BecauseOfYou
  • Start a conversation with our social media shareables on your networks and channels using the hashtag #BecauseOfYou
  • Follow us on Twitter or Instagram
  • Take part in an International Women’s Day event in your community
  • Learn more about the challenges facing women around the world
  • Donate your time to a local, national or international organization that supports women and gender equality
  • Talk with men and boys about their role as advocates and allies for gender equality
  • Send a postcard to a trailblazer who inspires you

This International Women’s Day is about shining a light on grassroots efforts to advance gender equality in communities across the country and honouring Canadians who are finding powerful ways, both big and small, to drive positive change right at the source.

Custom Protect Ear and Protect Ear USA celebrate the women that are our partners, employees, vendors and colleagues. Our company is comprised of women from all different walks of life, and we appreciate their contribution to both the company and the community.

Please take a moment over the next few days to cherish and embrace the women that have helped, influenced, or mentored you in any way shape or form!  #BecauseOfYou


Source

https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/commemoration/iwd-jif/theme-en.html

February is American Heart Month

February 18, 2020

Your heart and ears have a lot in common. Love them both during American Heart Month.

People tend to take matters of the heart very seriously and they tend to brush off hearing loss as inconsequential. But the truth is, your heart and ears have a lot more in common than most people realize.

 

In fact, decades of research point to a link between cardiovascular and hearing health.

Specifically, Raymond H. Hull, PhD, professor of communication sciences and disorders in audiology and neurosciences at Wichita State University, and Stacy R. Kerschen, AuD, conducted an analysis of 84 years of work from scientists worldwide on the link between cardiovascular health and the ability to hear and understand what others are saying. Their work, which reviewed 70 scientific studies, confirmed a direct link. The findings of their analysis also suggest that hearing loss may be an early sign of cardiovascular disease.

“Our entire auditory system, especially the blood vessels of the inner ear, needs an oxygen-rich nutrient supply,” says Hull. “If it doesn’t get it due to cardiovascular health problems, then hearing can be affected.”

Other research suggests that hearing loss may be an early sign of cardiovascular disease in seemingly healthy middle-aged people, and even found that hearing loss is common in people in their forties.

David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, went so far as to conclude from his study that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.

He explains the heart-hearing link like this:

“The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.”

Other experts find the evidence so compelling they say the ear may be a window to the heart and encourage collaboration among hearing care providers, cardiologists, and other healthcare professionals.

5 random things your heart and ears have in common

  1. Someone with heart disease is at a higher risk of depression—and someone with unaddressed hearing loss is at a higher risk of depression. But BHI research shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life.
  2. Exercise is good for your heart—and exercise is good for your ears. One study found that a higher level of physical activity is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.
  3. Smoking hurts your heart—and it’s really bad for your ears too. Research shows that both smokers and passive smokers are more likely to suffer hearing loss.
  4. Your heart and ears love omega-3 fatty acids. Research found that regular fish consumption and higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.
  5. Obesity puts people at risk for heart disease—and it affects hearing function. A number of studies show a link between obesity and hearing loss. One looked at women (18 to 40 years old) and found a link. Another uncovered a connection between higher BMI and a larger waist circumference, and hearing loss in women.

Source

Article from: www.betterhearing.org

Valentines Day – Love your Hearing!

February 14, 2020

Your ears deserve attention. After all, hearing is one of your most important senses and if you think about it, hearing connects us to the world

Our ears allow us to stay safe in our environment. Hearing the blast of a horn, loud crash or even the drop of a glass causes us to make choices. What if you missed hearing something important?

What if you missed part of a conversation and when you attempted to fill in the blanks, came up with a totally different meaning that affected a future event or decision? It happens. We hear these stories every day.

We also see people who deny that they have a problem with their hearing. We understand that. If you don’t know what you are missing, it makes perfect sense to believe you are not missing anything.

If your friends and family tell you that the TV Is too loud, if you find yourself asking people to repeat what is said, or if you notice that it is more difficult understanding while dining out, do yourself a favor and get your hearing checked.

Your hearing matters love your hearing

Of all the five senses, our hearing is perhaps the most precious. If we lose it, we lose contact with the people we love and the world around us. Learn more about hearing.

Life is full of surprises and it’s best not to miss a moment.


From all of us at Custom Protect Ear – Happy Valentines Day!

Hearing loss in football: Two former NFL stars share their stories

February 10, 2020

Hearing loss in football: Two former NFL stars share their stories

For players and fans alike, football stadiums can be detrimental to healthy hearing. The roar of a packed football stadium is part of what makes the sport so special. But there’s a downside.

For football fans, a thunderous stadium is part of the experience: There’s no feeling quite like stomping your feet in unison with 100,000 people as hype music booms from loudspeakers, the venue trembling as your team rushes onto the field. 

Die-hard football lovers will tell you this experience is like no other. Ball games brim with emotion — euphoria if your team is winning, dread if they’re not — and that emotion is expressed through yelling, clapping, stomping, chanting and singing. It’s compounded by speakers blaring and announcers, well, announcing. 

Fun? Undoubtedly. Good for your ears? Not so much. 

Football stadiums are some of the loudest places the average person goes to, ringing in at decibel levels as high as 142.2 — nearly as loud as a jet at take-off

The dangers of noisy environments are often overshadowed by pleasure and cultural significance, an unfortunate fact because attending events like football games is often a driver behind hearing loss

I’m not here to rain on anyone’s ball game, but take it from the pros: Terry Hanratty, former NFL quarterback and two-time Super Bowl winner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Reed Doughty, former NFL safety with Washington, both of whom struggle with hearing loss today. 

Here, they share their stories. 

Hearing loss in football

“I thought I had perfect hearing,” Hanratty tells me. But as it turns out — and evidenced by his wife’s perpetual despair at the TV volume — Hanratty did not. 

Hanratty and Doughty both suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, though different in nature. According to Hanratty’s audiologist, Dr. Nancy Datino, his hearing loss “could be due to noise exposure over time … but also could also be a result of a combined degeneration from aging or perhaps nerve damage from the head trauma he experienced as a professional football player.”

Reed Doughty, former NFL safety, getting fitted for hearing aids.

Doughty, on the other hand, was diagnosed with a hereditary type of sensorineural hearing loss at age 6. He has nerve degeneration in his ears, a progressive condition that will continue to worsen over time. 

Despite the differences in their conditions, Doughty and Hanratty have much in common: Both players eventually realized that their hearing loss was affecting their day-to-day lives, sought treatment and got hearing aids, and now spend a great deal of time educating the public on the dangers of loud environments and untreated hearing loss.

These may be two of the few former NFL athletes who actively promote hearing health awareness, but they are far from alone in their hearing loss — according to a 2014 study by Loyola University, retired NFL players may be at risk of permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, partly due to head trauma sustained during play. (Head trauma from playing football can also lead to many other kinds of injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.)

And with the average noise level of a sports stadium sitting at 100 decibels, it’s possible to sustain enough damage to cause hearing loss in just 15 minutes.  

The defining moment

For both athletes, there was a defining moment that pushed them to finally seek treatment for hearing loss. 

Doughty recalls his rookie year with Washington in the team’s meeting room, “My coach had his back to me at the whiteboard, explaining some new defenses we were putting in. I was a 4.0 student in college and I was supposed to be a smart guy, but I kept making mistakes on the field.”

Doughty says he’d ask his coach, “When did you say that? I didn’t hear anyone talk about [the new play].” Doughty’s coach told him to get his hearing checked, so Doughty, years after being diagnosed with hearing loss, finally got hearing aids. 

Hanratty’s moment came after his football career had already ended. He’d experienced a ringing in his ears for over a month, which he later found out was tinnitus, and hadn’t really planned to do anything about it until the NFL Retired Players’ Association invited him to get a comprehensive physical exam. 

“It’s a really cool thing; this is one of those executive physicals where you get to see about eight different doctors,” Hanratty says. “Yet there was nothing in the physical about hearing.” 

The players did get a form, however, on which they could write down anything they particularly wanted to get checked out. Hanratty took this opportunity to get his hearing checked and, as fate would have it, the doctor informed him that he needed hearing aids. 

Since then, Hanratty says, the NFL has added hearing checks as part of routine physicals. 

The ambiguity of loudness

Part of the problem, Signia audiologist Dr. Eric Branda tells CNET, is that people simply don’t recognize the level of sound they subject themselves to. Most people don’t think twice about sitting in a 100-decibel football stadium for four hours or jamming out at a 120-decibel rock concert.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, normal everyday conversation averages about 60 decibels. Football games and other loud events can easily reach nearly double that level of sound — yet most attendees don’t bother with any sort of ear protection. 

The fun factor of football overshadows the danger of loud stadiums. No one is telling sports fans to stop attending games, but hearing professionals and athletes with hearing loss want to create awareness. 

Additionally, many people don’t really pay attention to the volume of music playing through their headphones or the volume on their TVs. Other unsuspecting but contributing scenarios that can damage your hearing include taking off in an airplane, going to the movie theater, doing yard work, standing in the subway as subway cars rush past and so much more. 

This isn’t to say that you should walk around with earplugs in 24/7, Branda says, but you should be aware of your surroundings and take control when you can, and leave a loud environment or put in earplugs at a concert. 

Branda uses a helpful rule of thumb: “It’s probably too loud if I have to shout in order to be heard.” 

The stigma of hearing loss

“There’s a stigma with hearing loss,” Doughty says. “With glasses, you can wear them as part of your look and be stylish, but people don’t feel the same way about hearing aids.” 

Hearing loss is often discounted as a problem that’s shrugged off with phrases such as “he’s just old” or “she only hears what she wants to hear.” Some people with hearing loss feel like they’re made out to be dumb, so they hide the fact that they have trouble hearing. This is troublesome, because life can depend on the ability to hear — think of sirens, alarms and warning shouts.

The design of hearing aids has evolved in the last few years, from bulky designs that fit over your ear to smaller models that fit in your ear.

Yet the stigma persists, and it discourages many people with hearing loss from getting hearing aids.

“When you talk about hearing aids, people tend to picture grandpa in his armchair in the corner with some sort of contraption on his head,” says Hanratty. 

But that’s no longer the case. Hearing aids are now discreeteffective and connected. You can find ones that look more or less like a good pair of earbuds. “There is truly no excuse not to get them if you need them, especially when you know how much they can help your relationships and your career,” says Doughty.

Hanratty concurs: “I walk the streets of Manhattan and I see everyone with something hanging out of their ears. Earbuds, headphones, AirPods, whatever it is … Everyone’s got something in their ears anyway.”

Another way to overcome that stigma is to think of your hearing as an important part of your overall health, just like your heart rate or blood pressure.

Risks of untreated hearing loss

Hearing loss ultimately affects your ability to communicate, Branda explains. Hearing loss can cause relationship strains, social intimidation and anxiety. 

Hanratty puts it into perspective: “If you can’t hear, you start to withdraw from society. You don’t want to go to the movies because you can’t hear it. You don’t want to go to dinner because you can’t hear anything. You don’t want to invite people over because you can’t hear them.” 

“It gets frustrating for friends and families to repeat themselves all the time,” Branda says, which can lead to resentment for either party or both, “and it really just creates a difficult situation.”

Hearing loss can also affect performance at work, at school and in sports and recreational activities. Branda says that people with hearing loss might withdraw from society, allow responsibilities to pile up (such as unanswered phone calls and past-due appointments) and even exhibit characteristics of depression. 

In these ways, hearing loss is far more obvious to people around you than wearing hearing aids, Branda says. 

Perhaps the most frightening risk of untreated hearing loss is dementia. Adults with hearing loss are at a greater risk for dementia, Branda says, and research has found that the rate of cognitive decline in older adults is directly related to the level of hearing loss.

What you can do

As with most health complications, prevention is key. Knowing how loud is too loud is half of the battle, but you can start by studying up on some common sounds and their decibel levels, as well as how long it’s safe to listen to different decibels. The CDC has a handy guide to decibels and common sounds.

For example, the sound of the average hair dryer can reach 85 decibels — a level that can cause hearing loss after two hours of exposure. But there’s no need to worry about your hair dryer, Branda says, because hopefully you aren’t blow-drying your hair for two hours each day. 

If you have an Apple Watch, the built-in Noise app can give you some guidance when you find yourself in noisy environments. It’ll ping you when background noise rises above a certain threshold and give you tips, like perhaps you should consider moving farther away from the origin of the sound. 

If you know you’re going to be in a loud environment, consider wearing ear protection. The type can vary based on the particular environment and your preferences. Discreet ear plugs might be best for a football game, for example, while protective ear muffs are great for a shooting range and noise-canceling headphones work to drown out the rumble of an airplane. 

On top of everyday prevention, be sure to get your hearing checked regularly. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, healthy individuals aged 18-64 who don’t have noticeable hearing loss or complications should get their hearing checked every three to five years.

Hanratty emphasizes that hearing check-ups are not part of a normal annual physical from your primary care doctor. “When you go get your physical, you get your ears checked, but not your hearing,” Hanratty says. “You need to see a separate doctor — an audiologist — to make sure your hearing is normal and healthy.”

If you’re wondering if you need a hearing test, take this quiz by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

If you know you’ll be in a loud environment, such as on an airplane, protect your ears with noise-canceling headphones, ear muffs or ear plugs.

How you can help friends and family with hearing loss

If you know people who have difficulty hearing, you can help in a few ways. Try these tips from Branda: 

  • Speak clearly and help them read your lips.
  • Keep rooms bright so they can see you talking.
  • Talk slightly slower so they can process the sounds.
  • Give them a little bit of time to process your sentence before you move onto your next thought.
  • Have conversations in the same room, don’t yell up the stairs or into different rooms.
  • Avoid the noisiest areas and minimize distractions.
  • If it seems like they’re misunderstanding, try rephrasing; a new word might make all the difference.
  • Try not to bounce around different topics.

SOURCE: https://www.cnet.com/news/hearing-loss-in-football-two-former-nfl-stars-share-their-stories/

Hearing Protection Devices and Solutions

January 28, 2020

Millions of workers are exposed to hearing hazards every year, and even though OSHA regulations and NIOSH recommendations in the U.S. specify hearing protection, occupational hearing loss is still the number one reported worker illness in manufacturing*. Moreover, noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and irreversible, but avoidable with the help of proper hearing protection and other measures. Here we will explore some hearing protection devices (HPD) and other steps that can be taken to help protect workers’ hearing in a wide variety of industries.

Earplugs & Custom Hearing Protection

When workers are exposed to loud noise, earplugs can offer low-cost, effective hearing protection. These are soft foam or elastic plugs worn inside the ear canal to help block out hazardous sounds. Earplugs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes so there are many choices for workers. With the right fit and insertion techniques, earplugs can provide adequate protection for many types of noisy situations.

Disposable foam earplugs are the most widely used type of HPD. The soft foam is rolled into a tightly compressed cylinder then inserted into the ear so that it conforms to the unique shape of ear canal. They are relatively low price per pair and can result in a high noise reduction when worn correctly.

Push-to-Fit earplugs are soft foam tips with a flexible stem where there is no need to roll down the foam tips before inserting into the ears. This works well for employees who have difficulty rolling and inserting disposable foam earplugs and can even be inserted when hands are dirty or when wearing gloves.  Though earplugs are the fast easy solution they are not exactly the best product for the environment and everyday usage can be costly in comparison to custom hearing protection.

Reusable earplugs also known as Custom Hearing Protection are washable with flexible, such as the dB Blocker™.

dB Blockers™ are hearing protection products made to fit the individual’s ear exactly, this gives the worker a custom hearing protector (earplug) that they can wear all day long, while receiving “REAL WORLD” (what the wearer actually receives) attenuation. See how easy it is to wear dB Blocker hearing protection. dB Blockers™ custom molded hearing protectors (earplugs) are made from the Skinsoft™ blend of medical grade silicones, which is as soft and flexible as your own skin.

dB Blocker hearing protection

Also, metal detectable earplugs have a stainless-steel bead encased in the earplug. Popular in food manufacturing industries when contamination prevention is critical, this type of HPD is available in a variety of comfortable earplug styles to meet most wearer preferences

Y Vented - single

and help address a variety of environmental noise hazards. Metal Detectible dB Blocker™ hearing protector devices are for industries such as food and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Our Metal Detectible dB Blockers™ have been tested by a wide range of metal detection equipment. Learn More

Earmuffs

One of the easiest hearing protectors to wear, earmuffs can quickly be adjusted to provide a snug and reliable fit for a wide range of ear and head sizes. Since earmuffs can be less complicated to put on correctly, most users can intuitively learn to wear them. Additionally, earmuffs allow workers to easily put their hearing protection on and take it off throughout the day as needed.

Earmuffs can be reused time and again, and, if properly cleaned, maintained, and stored, can typically be worn up to two or three years. Also, given the size, they are harder to lose than other hearing protectors. This means you may not need to replace earmuffs as often as other types of hearing protectors. Additionally, the easier and more comfortable personal protection equipment is, the more likely employees may be to wear it. Moreover, because earmuffs are can be easier to see from a distance, it may also be easy to monitor that workers are wearing hearing protection.

dB Blocker hearing protection

Advanced Hearing Protection

Advanced Hearing Protection Solutions can help keep the workers’ hearing protected while enabling them to clearly communicate and hear their surroundings. There are two categories of Advanced HPDs: Protective Hearing Solutions and Protective Communication Solutions.

Protective Hearing Solutions allow you to hear normally when it’s quiet and provide protection when it’s loud. This type of HPD can be effective when:

  • There is intermittent, varying, and/or unpredictable noise
  • Workers are tempted to remove their hearing protection to communicate
  • Enhanced situational awareness is desired, e.g. moving vehicles are present, alarms need to be heard, for maintenance personnel
  • Workers move between loud and quiet areas
  • Sometimes, workers may also need hearing protection that can allow them to clearly communicate in noise.

These Protective Communication Solutions can help when:

  • People are wearing hearing protection and carrying two-way radios
  • People are trying to talk on their mobile phone in noise
  • People need to shout into each other’s ears to communicate

 

Hearing Conservation Program

Employers in the U.S. are required to provide a “continuing, effective hearing conservation program” for employees who are exposed to hazardous noise, according to U.S. OSHA. You can advance your hearing conservation program with a customized and comprehensive approach to providing hearing protection. Implementing a solution that really makes a difference begins with an understanding of the hazards, the regulations, and the factors that impact hearing protection. Your program should also take into account the seven elements of hearing conservation.

Measure

Accurate measurement of employee exposure to hazardous noise is essential. Conducting noise surveys using appropriate detection instruments can help you identify who is at risk, determine who needs to be included in your program, and select the proper controls and protective equipment to help reduce the risks.

Control

Certain operations and machinery create high noise levels. But do they have to? Equipment and processes can be designed or altered to be quieter, reducing the number of employees in your conservation program.

Protect

Hearing protectors play an important role in hearing conservation. They must be comfortable, fit properly, and provide adequate protection for the environment. Compatibility with other PPE and the workers’ ability to communicate must also be considered. Including individual fit testing of earplugs and earmuffs in your program can help you educate your employees on the importance of hearing protection and validate the Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) achieved by each worker.

Check

Are your employees showing symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss? It’s important to routinely use standardized measurement procedures to check their hearing to detect and record changes, so you can take steps to prevent permanent hearing loss.

Train

Because noise-induced hearing loss usually happens gradually and the symptoms are not always apparent, it is vital to educate employees on the effects of exposure to loud noise and train them to properly use hearing protection. You may be able to improve the success of your hearing loss prevention efforts by strengthening worker training and motivation programs.

Evaluate

Make sure your hearing conservation program is working with regular program evaluations that include employee feedback, responsibility reviews, and cost analysis. This will help identify trends, highlight potential problem areas, and drive improvement.

Fit Testing

Fit testing can deliver an objective, quantitative measurement of each employee’s hearing protection, so you can help better protect your workforce while also helping employees understand the importance of proper fit.

FITCHECK SOLO™

Developed by NIOSH and distributed by CPE and ProtectEar USA, FitCheck Solo™ is fast, accurate and simple 

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS:  Training and fit testing takes less than 10 minutes and it can be done right on the line*. Fit Testing devices such as FitCheck Solo™ provides ease-of-use and real-time testing. Learn more. 

fit check solo

Fit testing can further help employers because it:

  • Is fast, quantitative, and objective
  • Helps measure the wearer’s personal attenuation rating (PAR) with particular hearing protectors
  • Allows for the opportunity for training to help promote effective fit and
  • Provides documentation for compliance reporting
  • A proper hearing conservation program is meant to help measure, control, protect, check, train, record, and evaluate.

Download FitCheck Solo Brochure 

Hearing Conservation Manager Digital Programs

It might be in a safety manager’s best interest to invest in a digital system, where hearing conservation managers can track for each worker the results of fit testing, the noise exposure levels experienced given a specific work environment and keep track of overall hearing health data over time. This data can help with selecting the appropriate hearing protection based on exposure in a particular work environment and keeping track of what hearing PPE inventory is needed for the work force.

Using a digital system to gather and store information on how PPE is used in the workplace can help promote regular maintenance for certain PPE assets, as well as help improve the hearing program, overall operations, and safety culture. This may lead to enhanced productivity, compliance, and confidence by workers who feel they are properly feel protected.

People like options. When their personal preferences are considered, employees may be more satisfied and more invested in their work. Employees may wear hearing protection more of the time when they are allowed to choose HPDs that are compatible with their work. Selecting the most comfortable HPD from several options may also increase the likelihood that employees will wear them correctly. Through a well-defined hearing conservation program, safety managers, employers, and hearing conservation managers can help ensure workers are wearing the hearing protection that meets their needs.


SOURCE

https://www.ishn.com/articles/111403-hearing-protection-devices-and-solutions

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.

Holiday Safe Listening: Noisy Technology, Toys and Places

December 17, 2019

Holiday Safe Listening: Noisy Technology, Toys and Places

Between new technology gifts (used with earbuds or headphones), noisy toys, and loud holiday parties and concerts, the holiday season brings welcome revelry but also a lot of noise.

Read on for more information—and download and share these resources with your family, friends, and clients/patients to help encourage the public to protect their hearing.


Safe Listening Tips: Holiday Gifts and Hearing Protection

Buying a tech gift for your child this holiday season? More than 1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of developing hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices from noisy technology and leisure settings. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers three easy tips to teach safe listening and help kids protect their hearing.