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Monday, September 26, 2022

Workplace and Hearing Protection

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Factories, manufacturing plants, construction, mining, and excavation sites are places where you deal with harsh and high-pitched noises. There will be sounds/noises of cutting, drilling, blasts, and many more, and your ears are the one that suffers the most during work hours. Therefore, most employers provide earplugs to the workers, and some ask them to buy one. In countries where labor laws are strict and followed, workers in the industries mentioned above must wear safety earplugs.

Why earplugs? Are they that effective in protecting your ears? Do you need to wear them all the time? Are there any other ways one could protect their ears? All these questions are relevant, and you will get all the answers in this article. Safety practices are compulsory in every industry, and the safety of your ears is one of the top priorities.

Hearing damage: The nightmare of many workers

It is not secret knowledge that excessive loud noise can impair your ears. Hearing loss usually happens when one is exposed to 85 decibels of noise for 8 hours or more. However, if you are unfamiliar with the decibel (a measure of sound/degree of loudness), don’t worry; the explanation is here.

A typical conversation usually occurs at 60 decibels, below the dangerous threshold. If you use headphones to play loud music, it will only affect your hearing ability if, 

  • the sound is 105 decibels+ 
  • you listen to the music for more than 4 hours

As the decibels/noise increase, the time required to lose your hearing ability decreases. If the sound goes beyond 100 decibels, you could lose your hearing ability within 15 minutes. In short, the louder the noise, the faster you lose your hearing capability.

What are the noise levels in the workplace?

Where you work depends on the quality of safety earplugs you must use. 

  • Air compression- 92 decibels
  • Powered drills- 98 decibels
  • Typical factories- 100 decibels
  • Powered saws- 110 decibels

How these noises affect your ears is explained in this post.

There are three types of ear protection:

Earplugs

earmuffs

Semi-insert earplugs

The following is the list of dangerous noise-creating activities/items/tools and how fast you can lose your ears. 

  • Air compression from three feet distance registers 92 decibels. It would take a minimum of 2 hours to cause hearing issues.
  • Powered drilling registers 98 decibels and will cause ear damage in 30 minutes.
  • Typical manufacturing firms register at 100 decibels, which needs 15 minutes to go.

If you are exposed to noises above the permitted levels for an extended period, you will have a hearing impairment. You can use the noise monitoring equipment to see whether the noise is going above 85 decibels. This equipment can be kept in any place inside the manufacturing plant.

Importance of hearing protection in the workplace

The best protection you can use to decrease the effect of noise on your ears is a pair of safety earplugs. When the noise is down, one can concentrate on his work and save a lot of medical bills in the future. Workers have been using earplugs for a long time and will continue to do so in the future.

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