Monday, October 14, 2013

Hearing Loss

Many people work in an environment that is very loud and protecting the hearing abilities of employees is very important.  Hearing loss naturally happens with age, but when people are exposed to excessive noises or loud sounds on a regular basis it could significantly increase the rate of hearing loss.  Being able to hear is something many take for granted, but it is important to remember to protect it the best you can.  Employees who are constantly under pressure of loud noises can lose their hearing and it is a usually a painless, progressive, and a very permanent processes.  When employees are experiencing hearing loss it can reduce their quality of life and affect their work and family life.  If an employee is experiencing hearing loss they may not be able to hear alarms, warnings or other auditory signals that are important for their job.  Excessive noise has also been associated with digestive problems, irritability, loss of concentration and even high blood pressure according to Occupational Health and Safety Online.  The noise that causes problems can come from numerous locations including manufacturing equipment, vehicles, construction equipment, power tools, aircraft and even lawn maintenance tools. 

Damage to your hearing cannot be repaired, but the good news is that it is preventable.  There three steps to help prevent hearing loss. 
1) Recognize that a noise problem may exist  
2) Evaluate the potential problem
3) Control the situation
Using this three step process could be very beneficial to the hearing of employees.  

Recognizing that there is a noise problem is the first step. Inexpensive decibel readers can be found online to accurately test for ear damaging noise. Even less expensive but less accurate smartphone apps can be found in the Apple and Android markets. It also helps to pay close attention to your surroundings, for example not being able to hear someone close talking to you.  It can be difficult to identify a problem if the noise is not constant.   If you notice a potential noise problem the easiest way to protect your hearing is to cover your ears with ear muffs and ear plugs.  Many employers recognize that noise problems exist and they will provide hearing protection. It is still important that you take precautions to protect yourself and make your employer aware of any unsafe work environments.  

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company