Hearing loss due to industrial noise is one of the most widespread workplace injuries. Continual exposure to noise from machinery, tools, traffic, and general workplace activity can cause significant, irreversible hearing loss.
Hearing loss has a dramatic impact on quality of life and may contribute to other safety problems, such as lack of awareness and reduced concentration. Correctly designed and fitted ear protection will keep industrial noise below harmful levels. The choice of the appropriate protection device for each job is also vitally important.
Research and development by ProChoice Safety Gear has resulted in hearing protection devices that offer the most effective protection available.
Earmuffs: Earmuffs suppress unwanted noise by completely covering the outer ear. The ProChoice styles come with a variety of features from adjustable headband to hard hat attachments to suit individual needs.
Disposable Earplugs: Disposables are made from PU foam and are designed to be compressed and then inserted in the ear canal, where they expand and seal against noises. They are economical, designed for single use, and are available in corded and uncorded options.
Reusable Earplugs: Pre-moulded from washable silicone to fit snugly. Corded and uncorded options are supplied in resealable plastic cases.
Banded Earplugs: These are a convenient, easily inserted option for those who are constantly in and out of noisy areas.
Metal Detectable Earplugs: these contain a metal tab in each plug and a metalized cord that can be detected if they accidentally fall into processing lines.
The ProChoice Workplace Hearing Protection Guide gives us this quick Q and A on hearing protection:
What is a dB? dB stands for Decibel, the unit of sound level and noise exposure measurement.
How do I know when hearing protection is required? Have a workplace noise assessment done. Exposure to noise levels between 85dB-90dB and above can cause permanent hearing loss, and therefore hearing protection is required.
What is the "Safe Noise Threshold"? 90dB (A) - At this level and above, appropriate hearing protection MUST be worn.
What is Tinnitus? Involuntary noises in the ear, such as ringing or hissing, often associated with hearing loss.
How can I protect my hearing at work? The best method of preventing occupational deafness is to reduce noise at the source using engineering methods. However, in certain workplace conditions, there is very little or nothing one can do to reduce noise at the source. In these workplaces, workers must wear hearing protection to reduce the amount of noise reaching the ears.
When does noise become harmful to your hearing? Exposure to sounds greater than 85dB may cause hearing loss. General estimates of some work-related noises are listed in the chart below (Click the thumbnail to view larger image):