#YHSafetyTips - Ear Protection

Posted by Matt Bushey in #YHSafetyTips, Aug 02, 2017

Protecting your hearing is important! Long exposure to high dBA’s of noise will effect your overall hearing leading into permanent hearing loss.

When is it too noisy?
OSHA uses a 5dBA exchange rate standard, meaning, when noise levels are increased by 5 dBA, the person can only work half of the time. At 95 dBA, the worker can only work 4 hours per day instead of 8 hours. 100dBA sound levels will only allow the worker to work 2 hours per day.

NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Sets The Bar Higher
This institution starts their recommendation at 85 dBA for 8 hours of exposure to minimize hearing loss. They also recommend a 3 dBA exchange rate. So 88dBA would only allow a worker to work 4 hours per day. and 100dBA sound levels will only allow the worker to work 15 minutes pre day.

Negative Effects of High Levels of Noise

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Hearing Loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Chronic fatigue

Hearing Requirements
In 1981, OSHA implemented new requirements to protect all workers in general industry (e.g. the manufacturing and the service sectors) for employers to implement a Hearing Conservation Program where workers are exposed to a time weighted average noise level of 85 dBA or higher over an 8 hour work shift. Hearing Conservation Programs require employers to measure noise levels, provide free annual hearing exams, hearing protection, and training to employees. Employers are also required to conduct evaluations of the provided hearing protection, unless changes are made to tools and equipment making them less noisy. 

Hearing Protection Devices
Many different devices help protect your hearing from the negative effects of noise. Some newer types are flat, attenuated, and communication. These can be expensive and must be custom fitted.

  • Reusable earplugs
  • Roll down foam
  • Custom molded plugs
  • Canal Caps
  • Earmuffs

If you missed our blog post on Roadside Safety, click here to read it.

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