October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, and there’s no better time to evaluate how you’re protecting your team from noise-induced hearing loss.
As safety professionals, it’s our responsibility to lead from the front. We should be asking ourselves every day, “What do I need to do to set my team and employer up for long-term safety and health success?”
National Protect Your Hearing Month is a reminder for us to focus our attention on our employee’s hearing health. Noise is often treated as a second-tier hazard because employee hearing loss is invisible and happens slowly over time.
The first step in protecting your hearing employees is understanding the noise levels. A basic noise survey can be conducted for free by downloading a decibel reading app such as the NIOSH Sound Lever Meter application. If you collect decibel readings over 85db, you may need to do further testing through a professional service or equipment.
Upon results of the professional noise report, you may be required to implement an OSHA-compliant Hearing Conservation Program.
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Each hearing protection device has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) to determine its effectiveness. Keep in mind that the NRR is based on laboratory testing and the actual decibel attenuation for the employee is less than the Noise Reduction Rating number.
How to properly wear hearing protection
Earmuffs: Fully enclose the ears to seal against the head. Adjust the headband so cushions even pressure around the ears. Pull hair back and out from beneath the cushions.
Earplugs: Slowly roll and compress foam plugs into a very thin cylinder. While compressed, insert plug well into the ear canal. Fitting is easier if you reach around the head to pull the ear outward and upward during insertion.
About the Author
Soundtrace delivers the world’s most advanced employee noise monitoring solution. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is 100% preventable yet it remains a top occupational injury. Soundtrace’s Patent Pending technology is the frontline defense in protecting employees’ hearing. Soundtrace’s proprietary technology is the first and only solution that takes the guesswork out of traditional sound monitoring methods by providing real-time employee noise exposure data. Visit their website to learn more.