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Industrial Hearing Protection for Workplace Worker Safety

Every day, we experience noise such as the television and radio, appliances, power tools, and traffic. Most of the time, these noises are at safe levels and won't damage hearing, but noise can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief tiImage of Hearing Aidme and especially so if long-lasting. These sounds can damage sensitive structures and hairs in the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69—or 26 million Americans—have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to noise at work or in leisure activities

Measuring Noise/Sound

NRR is a single number rating system that represents the average noise reduction, in decibels, that a hearing protector might provide if own and worn correctly. Noise is measured in units called decibels and sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen. Most noise-induced hearing loss is caused by the damage and eventual death of the hair cells that once gone, are gone for good.  

Can NIHL be prevented in the Workplace?

NIHL is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. If you practice good hearing health, you can protect your hearing for life and reduce the chances of hearing aids later in life. Here's how:

  • OSHA Occupational Noise Standard 29 CFR 1910.95 requires employers implement a hearing conservation program if they work in environments at or above the 85 decibels.

  • The EPA requires that all hearing protection products carry an NRR label. Wear earplugs or ear muffs or both with appropriate NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) when involved or working in a loud activity. 

  • If you can't reduce the noise or protect yourself from it, move away from it.

  • Be alert to hazardous noises in the environment.

  • Make co-workers, visitors aware of the hazards of noise.

  • Have your hearing tested if you think you might have hearing loss 

Common Noises & Noise Levels

High noise levels are commonly found in industrial applications such as construction, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation. Musicians and support crews are also frequently exposed to dangerously high noise levels. The following jobs cause damage that worsen over time. Manual labor jobs fare the worst, which should be another reason to make sure if you fall under any of these titles that you receive ear protection from your employer.

  • Immediate Physical Damage-160 dB
  • Immediate Pain Threshold - 130 dB
  • Unprotected Noise Exposure of Any Duration Not Permitted - 115 db
  • Hearing Protection Required by OSHA - 95 dB
  • Hearing Protection Must be Made Available - 85 dB
  • Carpenter: Nail gun causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  • Ambulance driver or EMT: Ambulance causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  • Lumberman or logger: Chainsaw causes 118 to 140 Db of noise
  • Musician or rock star: Rock concert speaker causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  • Air Traffic controler: Jet engine causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  • Garbage man: garbage truck causes 85 to 100 Db of noise
  • Construction worker: Jackhammer causes 85 to 130 Db of noise
  • Landscaper: Power mower causes 85 to 100 Db of noise

Create a Successful Hearing Conservation Program with Our Selection of Hearing Protectors

MDS sells disposable and multiple-use banded, corded ear plugs, passive earmuffs, uncorded ear plugs and electronic earmuffs designed to protect employees from occupational noises that can degrade hearing.

  • Disposable Foam Plugs: Are compressed or shaped prior to insertion with varying sizes and shapes. Most popular are those made of expandable, slow-recovery foam.
  • Push-In Foam Plugs: Offer the no-roll down convenience of premolded plugs with exceptional comfort.
  • Premolded Reusable Plugs:  Are made from flexible materials that are preformed to fit the ear.
  • Banded Earplugs: Consist of pods or flexible tips on a lightweight headband. They are ideal for use in and out of noisy environments
  • Earmuffs: They have rigid cups with soft plastic cushions that seal around the ears to block out noise. For very loud noises, ear plugs can be worn under earmuffs.
  • Electronic Earmuffs: These incorporate music listening, amplification and high-level noise suppression.

Hearing loss can be prevented! Contact MDS for more information, samples, volume discounts or products not listed today!

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