Sound Advice

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

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

dB Blockers Want You to Protect your Hearing this Summer

July 23, 2019

Every season brings about new and traditional events that are mainly planned around weather and special occasions.

Summer is one season where people cannot get enough of outdoor activities such as swimming, motorcycling, outdoor music festivals, fire works and celebrations.  All these summer adventures come with some risk to a person’s hearing health. It is no secret that Summer months are generally the peak season for noise pollution.

motorcycling

 

People needing their Vitamin D and fresh air add to the heightened noise we encounter during this time. Other common activities contributing to noise pollution are:

  • Construction sites are more active
  • Paving and road maintenance typically done during the good weather
  • Increased traffic around common gathering areas
  • Outdoor Music events
  • Public gatherings in parks and recreation areas
  • Sports venues
  • Longer daylight hours that keep people active later

 

Summer Hearing Protection

As North America’s largest personalized industrial custom hearing protector manufacturer, hearing conservation is our only business. Custom Protect Ear (CPE) cares about hearing health for workers and individuals alike.   

So, to better equip you for a noisy summer, we wanted to share some of our favourite hearing protection styles:

 

dB Life™ Sweet Tones Musicians Earpieces

dB Life™ Sweet Tones Musicians Earpieces

Great for those outdoor concerts

dB Life™ Sweet Tones Musicians Earpieces are hearing protectors that reduce all frequencies equally by 9 dB, 15 dB or 25 dB with corresponding Flat Attenuation Filters. It is designed for musicians or concertgoers who want to hear music without distortion but with less volume.

dB Life™ Swimmers

dB-Life-swimmers

Great for swimming in oceans,  lakes and pools

The dB Life™ Swimmers are ear plugs designed for individuals who wish to avoid getting water in their ears. They are made from a special formula of silicones, custom blended to allow them to float. Note: This is not a hearing protector.

 

dB Life™ All Sport – Earpiece and Headset

Great for biking, hiking, cycling or just working out

The dB Life™ All Sport earpieces and headset are designed to be comfortably worn under a helmet. Whether biking, skiing, snow boarding, cycling or pumping iron, ALLSPORT™ products offer the noise isolation and comfort of the dB Life™ custom earpiece and high-fidelity stereo sound from your digital music player (iPod compatible) or bike sound system.

dB Life™ Sleepers – Vented or Non-Vented

dB Blocker Discreet Non VenteddB Blocker Discreet vented

Great for Traveling and or Camping

The dB Life™ Sleepers are is much quieter than exposing your ears to the noise you are trying to sleep in.  Sleepers reduce the ambient sound about 20 dB.  They still let you hear the smoke alarm, telephone, clock radio alarm, and baby crying.  We wouldn‘t want it any other way.

dB Life™ Discreet Vented

dB Blocker Discreet custom fit hearing protection are a low profile option where conversation is also required. Used in hospitality and air travel where noise is an issue.

dB Blocker™ Classic Vented

Classic-Vented-

Great for everyday wear in noisy environments!

The dB Blocker™ Classic Vented and filtered hearing protector (earplug) is designed for situations where interpersonal conversation in noise is required without removing the protector.

So there you have it – these are some of our favorite hearing protection devices that allow people to get through the summer without  incurring damage to their hearing. We also carry hearing protection for Security and Industrial sectors as well as communication devices.


Learn more about Custom Protect Ear’s Hearing Protection Products 

Earth Day 2019

April 22, 2019

“In nature, nothing exists alone.”
— Rachel Carson, 1962

Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.
The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.

Earth Day Network is asking people to join our Protect our Species campaign.

The goals are to:

  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.

Custom Protect Ear Carbon Footprint

By purchasing any of our hearing protection products, you are helping us give back to the community. dB Cares™ is a Custom Protect Ear (CPE) initiative created to address the impact our doing business has on the environment and to help support the people and community where we live and work. We are also committed to making a difference in the battle against Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. There is more to CPE…

dB Cares™ For The Planet

CPE is committed to becoming more sustainable by working to eliminate or offset any adverse effects our business may have on the planet. Some of the programs we initiated are:

  • Reducing energy consumption and by purchasing strictly green power: generated from renewable resources. bullfrogpower.com
  • Reducing landfill waste by making our protectors with a 5-year life span, and by reusing, recycling or reclaiming waste materials whenever we can.
  • Making all marketing materials available in digital formats that can be supplied over the internet; and when printed, only on post-consumer papers with environmentally sensitive inks.
  • Refining our production processes to engineer out any adverse effects on the environment.
Protect Ear

From all of us at Custom Protect Ear – Happy Earth Day, do your part.

 

 

Keep older workers healthy and productive

August 22, 2018

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce is older than 65, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2020, 1 in 4 American workers will be older than 55.

Older workers typically have more experience and greater institutional knowledge than younger workers, NIOSH notes. However, their injuries often are more severe and may take longer to heal. Employers should take special considerations into account to help protect older workers.

 

older adults

Injuries and health

Health issues increase with age, and NIOSH data shows that arthritis and hypertension are the two most common health conditions reported by employees older than 55. More than 75 percent of older workers are estimated to have at least one chronic health condition that requires management.

“The frequency of these conditions and others in older adults has important implications for how and when workers can physically perform their duties,” the agency cautions.

How can employers help keep older workers healthy and safe? Let’s start with Safety Programs and or processes that ensure that the level of care is consistent throughout the organization. Also, some work environments have dedicated Occupation Health and Safety roles that ensure safety but also enforce preventative policies to minimize workplace injury.

Make the workplace age-friendly

Employers and supervisors can follow several strategies to make workplaces more age-friendly, NIOSH states. Among them:

  • Be flexible with older workers by giving them a say in their schedule, work tasks and conditions, when possible.
  • Let employees work self-paced, and avoid assigning repetitive tasks or work that involves prolonged sedentary tasks.
  • Require supervisors to take training on managing an aging workforce.
  • Provide ergonomically correct workstations.
  • Prevent Occupational injuries by investing in Protective Gear like Molded Hearing Protection, Eyewear, and Respiratory wear. Learn More about Hearing Protection. 
  • Consult with older workers to develop teamwork strategies to help abate age-associated hazards.
  • Keep hazards managed – particularly slip, fall and noise hazards, as these can challenge older workers.
  • Invest in training to help older workers hone their skills and become comfortable with new technologies.

 

 

 

 


SOURCE

For more information on productive aging, visit cdc.gov/niosh/topics/productiveaging/safetyandhealth.html.

Hearing Loss Prevention in the Food Industry

August 22, 2017

Hearing Loss Prevention in the Food Industry

dB Blocker for Food IndustryBehind that yummy assortment of bakery delights or that wonderfully prepared to go straight to the oven, frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu is an entire assembly of creative chefs and production staff who prepared it for you; production workers who are also exposed to workplace hazards every day. One specifically is industrial hearing loss.

The issue of hearing protection in the food processing industry — and in process industries in general — is somewhat more complex than it is in other industries in that employers must protect workers’ hearing as well as protect the purity of the product.

When it comes to food processing, the highest quality and hygiene standards must be maintained. With people’s lives and the earth’s future at stake, every step must be taken to ensure the welfare of the public and the environment. This puts a lot of pressure on employees to perform at their best, which is why many of your competitors are investing in their worker’s best interests.

Detectable Hearing Protectors

If you are the safety officer at a food processing company, the issue of providing hearing protection that is safe for people and process are not one to be taken lightly. There are two basic approaches to protect food products from stray hearing protectors: the first is to keep the hearing protector from falling into the product in the first place, and the second is to make it easily detectable if it does. Custom Protect Ear, manufacturers of dB Blockers™, has created three options of Metal Detectable dB Blockers that help with both approaches. (dB Blocker™ Metal Detectable (MD) Vented; dB Blocker™ Metal Detectable (MD) Non-Vented; dB Blocker™ Metal Detectable (MD) Communication Ear Piece)

Promoting Quality and Hygiene in the Food Processing Industry

To help your workers adhere to stringent quality and hygiene standards, dB Blockers™ are made of SkinSoft™ medical grade silicone, are hypoallergenic, washable, and nonporous so they don’t breed contaminants. As per food industry standards, the dB Blocker™ MD ear pieces are manufactured to provide for fast detectability in production line screening processes.

Should the ear pieces get misplaced or go missing, they can be easily replaced as the custom ear mold that is taken during the fitting process, is retained on file for five years. dB Blockers™ are custom fit, reusable hearing protection. They are not disposable; making them more cost effective to use than disposables.
With your workers’ hearing properly protected by dB Blockers™, you can rise above these challenges, enabling your workers to perform even more effectively.

“Over the years, CPE has anticipated our needs and far exceeded our expectations. They’re even working on advances to our protectors. They really take the time to understand the challenges we face in our daily operations.” ~ Maidstone Bakeries

dB BLOCKER™ METAL DETECTABLE Vented

 

Metal Detectable

Noise Induced Hearing Loss is a Growing Problem

The bottom line in all this, however, underscores the employers’ need to protect workers’ hearing. Despite the growing awareness of hearing loss and increased efforts to combat it, the incidence of noise induced hearing loss among industrial workers — food processing and otherwise — continues to rise. A recent National Health Interview Survey showed that hearing problems among individuals aged 45-64 years have risen 26% over the past 30 years. This means safety professionals need to not only take into account traditional Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) in providing protective hearing protection but to also consider the human factor which undermines hearing conservation efforts.

Noise Exposure Among Federal Wildland Fire Fighters

August 10, 2017

Noise Exposure Among Federal Wildland Fire Fighters

Posted on  by George Broyles , LCDR Corey Butler, CAPT Chuck Kardous

Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. NIOSH estimates that 22 million U.S. workers encounter noise exposures loud enough to be hazardous.  Wildland fire fighting (vs. urban/ structural fire fighting), aims to suppress grass, brush, or forest fires (see Figure 1).  Wildland fire fighting is considered a high-risk emergency response occupation requiring considerable physical and psychological demands. Wildland fire fighters often work 12 to more than 16 hours per shift for up to 14 consecutive days over a 3- to 9-month period [U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2008].

Figure 1. Wildland fire fighters during various fire suppression activities.

 

Wildland fire fighters often have extreme exposures to many physical agents and occupational hazards [Britton et al., 2013]. Similar to other high-risk occupations, research efforts and occupational safety and health programs have historically focused on identifying and preventing acute injuries and exposures, but less emphasis has been placed on research and prevention programs relating to chronic diseases or injuries such as occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

Although noise exposures and hearing loss among structural fire fighters have been well studied [Hong et al., 2008] and documented [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 2013), wildland fire fighters have not received the same attention, nor have their noise exposures been empirically researched and studied. Wildland fire fighters may be repeatedly exposed to known sources of noise including chainsaws, aircraft, wood chippers, audio equipment, portable pumps and engine pumps, heavy equipment (e.g., bulldozers), and ambient noise from the wildfire itself.

In an effort to address noise exposures within this population, the United States Forest Service, Technology, and Development Program, in partnership with NIOSH, conducted a 3-year study to assess wildland fire fighters’ noise exposures during training and fire suppression tasks and to identify which jobs put these fire fighters at increased risk for NIHL. A recently published paper by USDA and NIOSH researchers on wildland fire fighters [Broyles et al., 2016] in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America reports on the initial results from the study, characterizes the most hazardous noise sources and job tasks based on personal dosimetry measurements, and provides specific and practical recommendations for protecting the hearing health of these fire fighters.

Noise exposure measurements were collected at 10 different fire locations during the 2014–2015 fire seasons. A total of 174 full-shift personal noise dosimetry measurements were conducted on 156 fire fighters in 14 different wildland fire fighting job categories. Overall, 85 of the 174 measurements were above the NIOSH maximum allowable daily dose.  Almost all masticator/chipper operators, pilots, pump operators, leaf blowers, sawyers and swampers, and bulldozer operators had TWAs that exceeded the NIOSH  recommended exposure level (REL) of 85 dBA (masticators/chippers TWAs reaching 105 dBA, sawyers and swampers TWAs reaching 106 dBA, and bulldozer operator TWAs reaching 112 dBA).  Fire fighters exposed to TWA of 105–106 dBA would exceed their maximum daily limit in just 4–5 minutes.  At 112 dBA, a bulldozer operator exceeded 100% noise dose in 56 seconds.  Bulldozer operators received the highest possible daily noise dose, some exceeding the OSHA maximum daily dose by 20-fold and the NIOSH maximum daily dose by 500-fold. It is interesting to note that four of the bulldozer operators had TWAs well below the NIOSH REL, most likely because they operated in a closed or environmental cabs which isolated the bulldozer operator from much of the noise generated from the heavy equipment.  Figure 2 contains the percentage of fire fighters’ personal dosimetry measurements that exceeded the NIOSH REL or the OSHA permissible exposure level (PEL) based on their specific activities or tasks.

Figure 2. Percentage of dosimetry samples exceeding the OSHA PEL and NIOSH REL per work category.

 

On the basis of these study results, wildland fire fighters may be considered at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. To prevent fire fighters from developing a hearing impairment, NIOSH recommends that all wildland fire fighters be enrolled in a hearing conservation program and that fire agencies establish and maintain fire service specific hearing loss prevention programs. In addition, the authors recommend additional studies to examine targeted approaches to mitigate risk among fire fighters with highest exposures.  See the full list of recommendations and read more about the noise exposures of wildland fire fighters in our recent paper: Noise exposure among federal wildland fire fighters.   If you are a wildland fire fighter or you work with wildland firefighters, please share your experiences with our readers.

George Broyles is a Fire and Fuels Project Leader with the Technology and Development Program, USDA Forest Service.

LCDR Corey Butler is an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist with the NIOSH Western States Division.

CAPT Chuck  Kardous is a senior research engineer with the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology.

READ FULL ARTICLE 

 

Safety 2017 Conference June 19-22, Denver

June 15, 2017

ASSE show

2017 Safety Conference

Stay Relevant at Safety 2017 Conference

Safety professionals are expected to have expertise in risk management, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, product safety, environmental management, Workers’ Compensation, standards and organizational management, in addition to the more traditional aspects of safety management. Safety 2017 encompasses all this and so much more.If you want to stay relevant in your profession, you have to know the latest trends and how to implement them in your organization. For three days, engross yourself in almost 20 hours of IACET accredited education formatted as concurrent sessions, flash sessions, roundtables, and panels on the topics relevant to your company’s situation.Over 4,000 OSH professionals will come together to learn about best practices, case studies, the latest technology and how to advance their safety efforts. The conference has been providing introductory, intermediate and advanced level training for professionals over the past 50 years and is known for providing first-class education and training – it is truly the industry’s “must-attend” event.
Find Real Solutions to Your Top Challenges

About Safety 2017

Safety 2017 is an industry-defining event for OSH development. There are more than 240 concurrent sessions presented by the best minds in the industry, focused on 20 subject areas from construction to transportation and everything in between. You will learn what’s going on in the industry, find out what strategies your peers are implementing, and discover how they are tackling similar issues you are facing. In short, you’ll learn new strategies and solutions to solve some of your biggest challenges.

Meet and Learn From the Trendsetters

Our speakers, attendees, and exhibitors are at the forefront of the industry; they are the game-changers. Our 300+ speakers won’t just be presenting to you. They’ll be sitting next to you, attending sessions, and having lunch with you. This is your opportunity to share ideas, challenges and make connections

See the Latest Innovations & Products

The expo at Safety 2017 will host over 600 companies presenting cutting edge products, technology, and techniques for occupational safety. Gain the exposure you need to keep yourself not only relevant but ahead of the curve

Follow us  #dBBlockers #customprotectear

What you should know about protecting your hearing this summer

June 7, 2017

What you should know about protecting your hearing this summer. 

Now that summer is just around the corner, it is important to know that there is more than just the sun to protect oneself from. Summer is filled with several outings and adventures where you may be exposed to loud noises. We don’t often think about the impact some activities can have on our hearing, so here a few to look out for this summer.

Driving in a convertible car:

Many of us are eager to hit the road during warmer months. During road trips, keep the stereo at a moderate volume, and don’t use music to drown out background noise. Opt for noise canceling earphones, instead.

Riding a motorcycle:

Riding motorcycles can make you happier … and hard of hearing

If you are a rider and say “motorcycle noise”, most people think of loud exhaust pipes. Savvy riders know there’s a much greater enemy — wind. Exposure to sound louder than 95 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing damage. Street riders on quiet bikes can expect wind noise to exceed 110 dB (even inside a good helmet); racers can expect 115 dB. Fifteen minutes of 110 dB a day, five days a week (can you say commute?) can cause up to a 30-percent hearing loss within a year. Your options: never ride faster than you can walk, use motorcycle personal ear plugs, or face a future with one of those ear trumpets glued to the side of your head.

Watching fireworks   fireworks

Be smart when you celebrate July 1st or the 4th of July festivities. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. And when watching the show, stay a safe distance away—where you can enjoy the colors and lights but not expose yourself and your family to loud noises.

To protect your hearing, make sure you’re wearing earplugs and that they’re securely in place before the show begins. Also be sure to keep them in for the entire show.

Jammin’ to loud music

Most of all, you should limit the length of time you spend in a noisy environment. When you do participate in noisy activities, alternate them with periods of quiet. And remember to use ear protection.

MusicRemember to “TURN it DOWN”

When listening to smartphones and other electronics, use them at a low volume. It is important to limit your use of headphones and ear buds. Remember, it’s not just the volume that matters. It is also the exposure or duration of time spent listening.

Taking a flight? Going on vacation?

Air travelers often complain about ear discomfort. When the plane is taking off or

flightlanding, yawn, swallow or chew gum to unplug your ears. If these tips aren’t effective, pinch your nostrils shut, inhale a mouthful of air, and direct the air back to your nose, as if you’re trying to gently blow, to equalize the pressure in your ears. Vented customized hearing protection devices can also help with the ear discomfort when the plane gets noisy. Learn more

These are just a few activities to look out for and to remember to think twice about protecting your hearing this summer. To learn more about custom hearing protection and dB Blockers™, contact us today.

db Blockers

From all of us at ProtectEar, have a safe and protected summer.

 

Noise Pollution – Yes it’s bad for your health

April 12, 2017

Noise Pollution: What is it

Every day, we experience sound in our environment, such as the sounds from television and radio, household appliances, and traffic. Normally, these sounds are at safe levels that don’t damage our hearing. But sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief time, or when they are both loud and long-lasting.

The growing noise pollution problem has many different causes. Booming population growth and the loss of rural land to urban sprawl both play a role. Other causes include the lack of adequate anti-noise regulations in many parts of the world; the electronic nature of our age, which encourages many noisy gadgets; the rising number of vehicles on the roads; and busier airports.

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What is Noise Pollution: Environmental Protection Agency

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency Noise Pollution is:

“The traditional definition of noise is “unwanted or disturbing sound”.  Sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation, or disrupts or diminishes one’s quality of life.  The fact that you can’t see, taste or smell it may help explain why it has not received as much attention as other types of pollution, such as air pollution, or water pollution.  The air around us is constantly filled with sounds, yet most of us would probably not say we are surrounded by noise.  Though for some, the persistent and escalating sources of sound can often be considered an annoyance.  This “annoyance” can have major consequences, primarily to one’s overall health.”¹

In the 1970s, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a recommended noise exposure limit of 55 decibels in a 24-hour period, with nighttime noise weighted more heavily because it can interfere with sleep. For comparison, a quiet suburb has a decibel level of about 50, while freeway traffic is closer to 70 and a chain saw is 120 decibels.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long identified transportation—passenger vehicles, trains, buses, motorcycles, medium and heavy trucks, and aircraft—as one of the most pervasive outdoor noise sources, estimating in its 1981 Noise Effects Handbook that more than 100 million people in the United States are exposed to noise sources from traffic near their homes.

Noise pollution is an often-overlooked source of environmental stress that can raise your risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease. In the US it’s estimated that 100 million people are exposed to unhealthy levels of noise, typically from automobile and aircraft traffic (although everything from leaf blowers and lawnmowers to loud music can also contribute). If you find yourself exposed to noise pollution on a daily basis, we strongly suggest you protect your earing with two way communication Hearing Protection Devices such a dB Blockers.

Quieting Noise Pollution Could Save $3.9 Billion a Yearnoise

Noise pollution may increase your risk of hearing loss, stress, sleep disturbances, and heart disease. A new analysis conducted an environmental assessment of US noise pollution as a cardiovascular health hazard, and revealed small decreases in noise could add up to major economic savings.

The analyses suggested that a 5-decibel noise reduction would reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by 1.4 percent and coronary heart disease by 1.8 percent. The annual economic benefit was estimated at $3.9 billion.3

The researchers assumed that noise exposure levels in 2013 were the same as those assessed in 1981. However, as urbanization has increased it’s likely these are underestimates and reductions in noise may impact even more people than the study suggested.

Silence is Golden

If you can’t avoid a noisy environment, should you play white noise in order to drown out the rest? White noise is a nondescript background hum, kind of like the noise of a fan or of someone saying “Shhhh!” continuously. Listening to white noise may turn out to be better than listening to intermittent speech if it successfully drowns out the speech, but that doesn’t mean it’s ideal. Learn more about how to protect yourself from noise.

 


SOURCES:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview/clean-air-act-title-iv-noise-pollution
  2. Senior author Richard L. Neitzel of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor told Reuters:
  3. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/20/noise-pollution.aspx