According to NIOSH, (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), prevention measures must be taken by employers and workers to ensure the protection of workers’ hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 per cent preventable but once acquired, hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.
The most effective way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is through engineering controls, such as acoustic barriers or mufflers. Hearing loss prevention programs for all workplaces with hazardous levels of noise should be customary.
Factors to be determined are duration of exposure to noise, decibels (dB) involved, and if workers are between locations, the decibel difference. Occupational noise at or above 85dB per eight-hour work-days requires employers to establish a hearing conservation program, which includes regular testing of employees’ hearing by qualified professionals.
Different types of hearing protection:
- Single Use Earplugs – Self-forming, made of foam, fiberglass wool, silicon rubber, or wax.
- Pre-formed or molded – Must be individually designed by hearing professional.
- Earmuffs – Seal the ear.
There are many different types and styles of ear protection, suitablefor continuously noisy workplaces or intermittent racket. There are earplugs, earmuffs, earplugs that can be worn around your neck, under the chin, handy for use when needed. (Also, you just might want some earplugs to take along to a concert, or NASCAR race!)