Hearing Protection on the Job

Little boy wearing headphones and pretending to mow the lawn

Your hearing is a precious gift—Take care of it! Tiny fibers in your ears are responsible for helping you hear. They can be damaged by loud noise. Once damaged, they can’t be repaired. Taking care of yours ears beginning at a young age—especially while on the job—goes a long way at preserving your hearing for a long time.

Decibels and Hearing Loss

Decibels measure the intensity of a sound, so it can be used to measure the level of loudness of something. For instance, the decibel scale may be used to judge how loud a dishwasher is. This is also a great way to understand at what level hearing loss can start to occur. Once noise goes above 70 decibels, hearing damage can occur, especially if you are exposed to it for a prolonged period. Noise at 120 decibels can do immediate damage. Consider a whispered conversation clocks in at about 30 decibels and a normal conversation is about 60 decibels. Things like concerts, power tools, lawnmowers, sirens, and fireworks get into the higher decibel ranges.

Hearing Protection on the Job

If your job requires you to work around loud noises, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires your employer to provide hearing protection. Specifically, if you are subjected to prolonged exposure to sounds at or above 90 decibels, hearing protection should be provided at no cost to the employee and it must be worn by employees. Duration of exposure to loud noises is limited by OSHA as decibels increase.

Employees must also be able to choose their preference among a variety of hearing protection options, including earmuffs and ear plugs. Both choices have advantages and employees often choose based on their comfort level. Ear plugs fit snugly, which provides more protection than earmuffs. However, they can be easy to lose and difficult to fit in the ear. Earmuffs, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable and hot, but they are difficult to lose. The decision ultimately comes down to what the employee finds most comfortable for their working conditions. Employees should choose the option they are most likely to wear.

It is important to note that the lifespan of hearing protection is limited, and employees must regularly have their earmuffs or ear plugs replaced to ensure they are providing optimum results. Ear plugs should also be cleaned regularly.

For more information about protecting yourself from hearing loss, visit: https://amdahlhearing.com/protecting-yourself-from-hearing-loss/

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.