Better Hearing Month is Here!

High Noise Level PPE

May is Better Hearing Month designated by the American Academy of Audiology. This month is used to raise awareness about causes and treatments of hearing loss while advancing technologies and solutions.

Did you know that 22 million workers in America are exposed to potentially harmful level of noise every year? From sudden, short bursts to continuous loud noises, the workplace can be a dangerous place for ears. Hearing damage is often permanent, and it is an employer’s responsibility for cultivating a safe workplace. It would be a sound investment to implement hearing programs, protections, and more.

Why do workers need their hearing protected?

Having good hearing in a facility can save a worker’s life. Aside from being able to hear instructions and safety briefings, workplaces are full of warning or danger signals like fire alarms, vehicle back-up signals, and more. Even more, the impact of hearing damage will affect their life at home and personal interactions. Furthermore, the dangers of noise go beyond hearing loss, and could result in other health problems such as stress, anxiety, chronic fatigue and even cardiovascular problems.

5 tips to Ensure Hearing Health

  1. Be compliant — The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has a put together the ANSI S3.19 standards, regulating hearing protection sold. In order to be to comply with the ANSI standards, hearing protection needs to be tested by an authorized testing facility before that model can be sold with the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
  2. Provide the proper equipment – Your two options when it comes to hearing personal protective equipment (PPE) are ear muffs and ear plugs. While staying compliant with ANSI regulations, it is important to choose equipment that will work well in your specific facility and is comfortable for workers. Did you know there are ear muffs that clip on to hard hats are? Whatever your needs are, identify them and provide proper equipment for your workers.
  3. Develop a Hearing Loss Prevention program– as recommended by the CDC, developing and implementing a Hearing Loss Prevention program will help in minimizing occupational risks and reduce work-related hearing loss. Crucial components of one of these programs include: noise exposure monitoring, audiometric evaluation, record keeping, education, program evaluation and more. Check out how to implement your own program with the National Institute for Occupational Safety.
  4. Create a visual workplace: Effectively communicating any type of safety in the workplace can start with visuals. Mark areas of high noise or hang up posters in spots where ear protection is required. By having compliant safety signs, workers will be continuously reminded to protect their hearing.

3 products to Promote Hearing Health

1. A “Danger Ear Protection Required” safety sign

2. A Hearing Conservation training DVD

3. Portwest’s Super Ear Muffs

Additional Resources