Noise-induced hearing loss is the most hazardous and common permanent occupational disease in industrialized countries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), protection against the effects of noise exposure shall be provided when sound levels exceed 85 decibels. Many hearing conservation programs have been introduced to end highly preventable noise-induced hearing loss. Some of them include:
Identifying high-level noise areas and trying to reduce or eliminate the noise at its source.
Providing appropriate hearing protection devices (HPDs) in areas where noise levels cannot be contained.
Conducting periodic hearing tests.
Educating workers on the need to wear HPDs and the hazards of exposing themselves to high noise levels.
Rehabilitating workers who have suffered noise induced hearing loss.
If you work in a high noise environment, wearing a hearing protection device will not only protect your hearing but also aid in concentration and focus. Providing appropriate hearing protection devices may seem like a straightforward solution in a comprehensive hearing conservation program, but the fact is that fewer personnel are wearing these HPDs due to improper selection and thus exposing themselves to potential hearing loss.
The most common complaints for not wearing these devices are that the device is uncomfortable, communication is impossible and the user lacks situational awareness, which can be a huge security risk.
Choosing the right hearing protection device is important. Here are five points to consider to ensure you are choosing the right communication headsets for yourself or your employees:
Lower overall attenuation – There are hearing protection devices that provide moderate to maximum attenuation. Such HPDs adjust according to changes in background noise that are intermittent, continuous or high impact.
Built-in communications systems – Some manufacturers produce HPDs that also incorporate protection along with communications capabilities. With these devices users can communicate face to face at short and long distances via a two-way radio, Bluetooth cell phone or hands free communication with VOX activation in high noise environments.
Enhances hearing for workers with hearing loss – Some HPDs are manufactured for people who have already suffered hearing loss. They compensate for lost hearing while still affording them protection.
Situational awareness – HPDs maintain situational awareness and determine nature, distance and directionality of all sounds, including alarms, speech and vehicles/machinery.
Hearing protection is vital in high noise environments, but in order to be successful, its use must be vigorously supported by management, and employees must be educated and motivated to wear them. All this is only possible with the availability of comfortable and effective HPDs.
Know more about – Hearing Protectors to Prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss.