As you must already know, your hearing is integral to living an easy, high-quality life. Without your hearing, life would become significantly more problematic – not only would you be unable to hear things like your child’s first words or even just your favourite TV show, but you’d be putting yourself at risk when crossing the street or working in dangerous environments.
You’ll want to take good care of those ear drums; they’re precious, and there’s not a great deal you can do once you’ve lost them. When you work in a loud environment, you’re at a much greater risk of damaging your hearing. Thankfully, with a few simple precautions you can protect your ears from harm.
How Can Noise Damage Hearing?
Too much exposure to loud noises can hurt your ears. On the short term, you can temporarily lose your hearing, but prolonged exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, or even deafness.
If you work around loud noises, exposure to a sound of over 85 decibels for eight hours a day can seriously affect your hearing. An idling tractor and a conveyor are two examples of 85dB noise.
Anything above this – like power tools, chain saws, and jet engines – are even more dangerous.
If noise is causing damage, there are some tell-tale signs you should watch out for. If you hear a ringing in your ears, or have trouble following a conversation with more than one person, or struggle to hear high-pitched sounds, you should get your hearing checked out.
The best way to do this is to see a trained audiologist. You can book your hearing test online, and the test is quick and painless.
How Can You Protect Your Hearing on the Job?
Thankfully, it only takes a bit of common sense and a few simple preparations to stop your hearing from suffering harm as you work. One of the best – and easiest – methods is to just wear safety ear plugs
whenever you are exposed to loud sounds; so, before using that jackhammer, for instance.
If you are, for whatever reason, averse to putting things inside your ears, a great alternative is to wear safety earmuffs. These sit over your ear, covering the entire thing, thus blocking out most noise.
Both ear plugs and ear muffs are measured in terms of effectiveness in cancelling out noise – this is known as the NRR or Noise Reduction Rating. As you’ll be around loud noises for long periods of time, you’ll want to make sure you get your hands on ear plugs or ear muffs with an NRR number of 25 or above.
This number means that it reduces the total noise level by 25 decibels, thus bringing that 85dB tractor engine down to a comfortable 60dB.
If you’re using reusable ear plugs, make sure you wash them with warm water and soap after each use. That’s all the maintenance they need, so there’s really no reason to shy away from using them – your hearing is valuable! If you feel that your hearing is already damaged then it would be wise to get a hearing test done. You can book one for free at Boots Hearingcare just to put your mind at ease.