Damage prevention

Since noise induced hearing loss can not be cured, it must be prevented. There are several noise control techniques including engineering controls and administrative controls. Personal hearing protection should be regarded as first aid until noise levels can be reduced to ‘safe’ levels, or as a last resort when noise can not be engineered out.

Loud and continuous noise can permanently damage our ears, and lead to partial or a reduced ability to communicate. Noise in the work place can cause stress, discomfort and impair hearing. Noise also interferes with conversation and concentration, and can reduce productivity.

Whether a noise is damaging depends on three factors: the sound pressure level, the duration of exposure and the sensitivity of the individual.

The problem with noise induced hearing loss is that by the time someone realises their hearing is impaired, the damage has been done and it is irreversible. Side effects of hearing loss include psychological difficulties such as annoyance and stress, and physiological problems including headaches, nausea, muscle tension, fatigue and tinnitus. Tinnitus is a continuous high pitched noise in the ears, a medical condition for which there is no treatment.

Hearing protection in the workplace

For the wearer, any discomfort or irritation with hearing protection is particularly apparent and can lead to removal of the hearing protector. This is commonly what happens with high attenuating hearing protectors that are often heavier and more uncomfortable. You only have to take off your hearing protection for a few minutes every day for the damaging effects of noise to accumulate.
This is why 100% wearing time is so important.

 

Copy: Howard Leight

 

 

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