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Amplifon Hearing Health Care Blog

National Safety Month - Who's your reason?

Posted by Amplifon Hearing Health Care on Jun 10, 2020 11:00:00 AM

National Safety Month

Though many of us are still at home due to the impacts of the stay at home orders, essential workers continue to work hard every day so the rest of us can stay safe. These essential workers, and even those at home, need to not only take care of their safety in regard to their health but also their hearing. Learn more to see if your hearing may be at risk and what you can do to protect it.

June is National Safety Month, organized by the National Safety Council, and it focuses on the protecting lives and preventing injuries in the workplace and the world beyond its’ boundaries1. This month helps to raise awareness about the many jobs that may put employees at risk for hearing loss if they do not protect their hearing in the workplace. The National Safety Council is focusing on the theme “Who’s your reason?” this year.

Here are some common professions, including essential workers, that are at risk for hearing loss and how to protect hearing in the workplace.

  • Construction Workers: The everyday tools used like a jackhammer or power drill has decibel levels ranging from 90 to 130 dB. Any noise level over 85dB has the power to damage, so construction workers are at risk of hearing loss every day. Working outside can help lessen the possible damage from loud tools and machinery but hearing protection such as ear plugs, or earmuffs are a necessity on the construction site.
  • Factory Workers: Factory workers constantly complain of extreme amounts of noise from the loud machinery to the huge fans continuously running throughout the day. Due to the dangerous noise levels, workers should not only wear ear plugs but silencer equipment and enclosures around loud machinery will assist to reduce the noise levels present.
  • Dental Workers: Dentists who do a lot of drilling run the risk of having high-frequency hearing loss. The drill sound is intense, and they’re very close to it as they work on their patients. Both dentists and their assistants should wear hearing protection during procedures requiring drilling. It could be a good idea as the patient too.
  • Military: Did you know that the most common military service-related injury is hearing loss and tinnitus? The military has been working on implementing hearing conservation programs for decades to help the over 60% of veterans that come home with some level of hearing loss. Damage to your hearing can be caused by sudden loud noises like loud explosions, the roar of airplane or ship engines, or even gunfire.
  • Airport Workers: Airport worker’s hearing are always at risk as they are constantly exposed to loud machinery including engines, generators, and compressors. Did you know a jet plane taking off’s sound levels reach over 140 dB? That is why tarmac workers especially should wear ear plugs or earmuffs to protect their hearing.
  • Musicians: If you are playing music or work in the music industry where you are involved in music production or live shows, you should wear hearing protection. Drum’s sound levels easily reach over 100 dB, meaning only listening to them for a few minutes without hearing protection can cause damage to your hearing. Ear plugs or earmuffs are a must when it comes to listening to live music, but if you are listening to music on your phone or laptop, noise cancelling headphones will help you listen to music at safe levels.

Hearing protection:

So, you’ve decided that you should start wearing hearing protection because you work in any of the fields listed above or wear hearing protection for some of your day-to-day activities such as mowing your lawn or swimming laps.

Regardless of who’s your reason, here are a few different types of hearing protection that work to reduce the amount of sound traveling to the middle and inner ear, see the pros and cons of each below.

 

Disposable earplugs:
These are usually made of a pliable foam that are rolled by hand into a thin tube then placed in the ear canal that then expand to seal off the ear.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable
  • Easy to find online and in stores
  • Ready for use (no custom or medical fitting required)
  • No maintenance (throw away after use)
  • Need to be rolled and placed correctly to ensure proper seal
  • Must clean hands before handling them to avoid dirt or germs from getting in the canal
  • Need to be replaced after each use (soft foam retains the oil and dirt in canal
  • Must purchase more to restock supply

 

Reusable earplugs:
These are made of a pre-molded flexible silicone or rubber that are usually flanged or cone-shaped. There are a variety of sizes to fit different wearers and some are joined by a cord or headband.

Pros

Cons

  • Variety of sizes
  • Reusable (just need to wash)
  • Easy to insert and remove
  • Maintenance required (wash, rinse, fully dry)
  • Unable to expand or mold to ear
  • Need to replace periodically

 

Earmuffs:
Earmuffs look similar to stereo headphones; they completely cover the outer ear. The cushions in the muffs are usually filled with a foam or liquid and are connected by a headband that adjusts to fit the wearer.

Pros

Cons

  • Reusable
  • Covers ears instead of feeling “plugged up” by ear plugs
  • Variety of sizes and styles
  • Ready to wear (no custom or medical fitting)
  • Can be combined with earplugs for additional protection
  • Some have Bluetooth technology
  • May feel hot and heavy over time
  • Maintenance (cleaned and aired out)
  • Equipment such as helmets, hats, or glasses can break proper seal
  • Less portable
  • More expensive

 

Custom molded earplugs:
These are a perfect balance of comfort and proper sound protection because they are custom made for the wearer. While the initial purchase is more expensive, they are specifically made to fit the unique shape of your ear canal and last several years.

Pros

Cons

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Work for several years
  • Easy to create proper seal due to custom fit
  • Variety of styles for different activities
  • Higher initial investment
  • Require custom mold fitting
  • Maintenance (routine cleaning

Hearing loss is more prevalent than you may think. Learn how noise may have impacted your hearing by taking our online hearing quiz to see if you should seek treatment from a professional here.

1 https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/get-involved/national-safety-month

 

 

Topics: noise, hearing, communication, hearing aids, work, Loud, preventable, Protection, damage, dangerous, motorcycle, ears, hearing loss, protect, military, Fitting, noise-induced hearing loss, music, decibel levels, dB levels, loud noises, dentists, Resources, Affordable Hearing Solution, noise exposure, job hazard, manufacturing jobs, occupational hearing loss, workplace hearing loss, manufacturers, technology, National Safety Month, frequency, loss & damage, Earbuds

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