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! 

 

New law allowing motorcyclists to wear earplugs – Ohio

February 26, 2020

DeWine, Ohio signs law allowing motorcyclists to wear earplugs

motorcycle riders

Some riders didn’t know that it is currently illegal to use earplugs when they ride

This summer, motorcycle riders will legally be able to use earplugs when they ride in Ohio. The new law goes into effect in 90 days.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law Friday that allows for the use of earplugs or earphones for hearing protection. Devices that provide entertainment will still be prohibited.​ Some riders didn’t know that it is currently illegal to use earplugs when they ride. They say they use earplugs to lower the decibel level assaulting their hearing as they ride.​

Noise impact on Motorcycle Riders

Several things contribute to the noise riders have to deal with, including the engine and exhaust systems of the bike. While they are traveling, the sound of the air passing by their ears creates noise as well.​ Those that use earplugs said wearing them helps them hear better than they would without using the devices. They claim to be able to hear low bass and high treble sounds easier.​

dB All Sport™ for Motorcycle Riders 

Protect Ear’s dB All Sport™ lets you hear the full range of your recording even at highway speeds.

This ear protector is built for the rider who wants to listen to their digital music player or radio, All Sport™ is the ideal way to take your tunes on the road. All Sport™ is a headset that connects to your digital music player and is specially designed to work in the harsh environment bikers endure. Wind noise, bike rumble, and traffic sounds compound to make listening to radio or music a challenge while riding.

The All Sport™ uses dB Blocker® Technology giving you extremely comfortable isolation from wind noise, bike growl and the quality music sounds of specially tuned dual stereo transducers. The sound reaches the protector through sound tubes that pass over the ear. This over-the-ear design allows for use with either full face or 1/2 shell helmets. It also allows for your All Sport™ to be easily repaired if you damage them. Learn more about the All Sport.

motorcycle riders

Riders who’ve been using earplugs for years say this bill is long overdue and is appreciated.​ When DeWine was asked if he was interested in pursuing a helmet law next, he told reporters he was not going to talk about that at the current time.​

 


Source

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

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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