DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT (TILL IT’S GONE)…
Any other 80’s kids out there? One would assume when Tom Keifer of Cinderella wrote this song he was reflecting on a romantic relationship gone south. Today, we are going to equate it to hearing loss. Using the correct PPE for hearing loss prevention is important to quality of life.
NOISE and its effects on hearing are parts of life and work. The result can be deafening, both short and long term.
Hearing loss may not cause immediate pain, especially in the early stages. In fact, damage may take several years to show up. Each exposure to excessive noise causes a little bit of damage.
Incidents are cumulative so over time hearing deteriorates. Once hearing loss occurs, it is gone for good.
It is so important to raise awareness about the prevalence of hearing loss. It is equally important to diagnose hearing loss early. Also, take quick action to find the best hearing loss prevention solution for your needs.
Do not wait until it is too late to start taking care of your ears! Hearing loss prevention is at your fingertips.
HEARING LOSS PREVENTION IN THE WORKPLACE
Workers tend to ignore gradual exposure to loud noises. Therefore, a clear explanation about the dangers of noise must be given early and often. It is an important message and cannot be neglected.
OSHA has determined that exposure to noise levels above a Time Waited Average of 85 dBA is unacceptable. Levels must be reduced to fall below 85 dBA or workers must be given hearing protection to limit their exposure. Approximately 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments.
In general workers are not as well trained as they should be. Employers may assume that their workers have a basic understanding of hearing protection so they neglect to properly instruct them.
Employees may feel that it takes too much time to find proper hearing protection and/or they think short bursts of noise will not damage their hearing. Therefore, a clear understanding of the long-range effects of hearing damage is so important.
TYPES OF HEARING LOSS
There are three main types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common and caused by conditions that damage tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear or damage the auditory nerve.
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a mechanical problem in the outer or middle ear or obstructions like earwax or a foreign object in the ear canal.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the above.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE HEARING LOSS?
- Difficulty understanding everyday conversation
- A feeling of being able to hear but not understand
- Having to turn up the TV or radio
- Asking others to repeat often
- Avoidance of social situations that were once enjoyable
- A sense of exhaustion after a day of listening to other people
- Increased difficulty communicating in noisy situations like restaurants, lively family gatherings in the care or in group meetings
- Tinnitus, or ringing and/or buzzing sounds in the ears
WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE HEARING LOSS AS AN EMPLOYER?
Employees need to learn about hearing loss. Employers need to train on hearing loss prevention, provide products as outlined below and support a safety culture.
Noise Reduction Ratings for hearing protection can be confusing. Protocols, applications, ratings, testing and de-ratings of NRR are under evaluation by the EPA and changes are expected.
First and foremost, whenever possible remove or reduce the noise level in the workplace.
When you can’t remove the noise there are several different types of hearing protection readily available in the marketplace.
- Foam Earplugs
- Pre-molded Earplugs
- Push-in Earplugs
- Hearing Bands
All hearing PPE provides a level of noise reduction to limit workers exposure, the choice becomes personal preference. At MC Tool & Safety we can provide multiple options to make sure each worker has what he or she may need to work comfortably and safely. Check out our hearing loss prevention items today.
WHERE DO I START?
First, the employer needs to promote a culture of safety, this can be supported by providing proper training to ensure the equipment is worn properly and providing the benefit.
Second, teach your employees what noise levels are dangerous (anything louder than a vacuum cleaner requires protection).
Finally, provide the proper equipment for each worker and his/her working conditions to know you support hearing loss prevention.
BEST WAYS TO TRAIN ON HEARING LOSS PREVENTION
Hearing loss prevention is an easy item to add to a tool box talk or safety day presentation. MC Tool & Safety Sales can offer you literature and samples to make sure your training goes smoothly.
MC Tool & Safety Sales will also help you train by attending and/or including a manufacturer on tool box talks or safety days when scheduled in advance.
We believe the best thing to do is keep lines of communication open and encourage your employees to ask questions if they are unsure of any PPE they are using, including hearing protection.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does MC Tool & Safety Sales stock hearing protection? YES, we provide many options from Honeywell, Pyramex, PIP, and other major suppliers ready for pick-up today.
Does MC Tool & Safety Sales have a store? Yes we do! Our warehouse is open Monday – Friday 7:30AM – 4:30PM at 2851 84th Lane NE, Blaine, MN and we love walk in service.
Do I need to have an account? No, you can also pay with cash or credit card. We accept American Express, Master Card and Visa.
How do I use ear plugs? Always follow the manufacturers instructions, but if you need assistance please call our office and schedule a training.
Please contact our Customer Service Department to get the answers to any of your questions today! Just call toll free at 1-888-206-2569, or if you are in the Greater Minneapolis Area dial 763-786-5350.
CONTACT MC TOOL & SAFETY FOR TOP-NOTCH PPE AND OTHER SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Many thanks to healthyhearing.com for much of the information shared here today.