Preventing Hearing Loss
Business owners have a responsibility to prevent hearing loss. Many workers complain that they can’t hear as well as they used to. The statistics show employees are right. Loss can be gradual so it may not be noticeable until it’s too late.
To prevent hearing loss and protect employees in the workplace, employers need to be aware of the noise levels that can promote hearing loss. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace noise is likely to be hazardous if:
- You have to raise your voice to talk to someone an arm’s length away.
- After leaving a noisy place, your ears are ringing or sounds seem dull.
- You are regularly exposed to 85 decibels of noise. For comparison’s sake, this is less than the noise output from average traffic, most power tools or rock concerts.
The louder the noise, the shorter the exposure time needed before hearing protection is required. From earmuffs to simple plugs, there are a variety of sizes and styles to prevent hearing loss based on your personal preferences and comfort level. Some of the most common types include:
- Single-use ear plugs, which are self-forming and, when properly inserted, work as well as most molded earplugs.
- Pre-formed or molded earplugs, which are individually fitted by a professional, can be disposable or reusable. Reusable plugs should be cleaned after each use.
- Earmuffs, which are ideal because they form a perfect seal around the ear. Be aware that glasses, facial hair, long hair or facial movements, such as chewing, may reduce the protective value of earmuffs.
The Flanders Group can also provide resources for training and educating employees. Call us at 800-462-6435.