Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss at Work and Play
Benjamin Franklin got it right when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Just as you would take preventative measures to protect yourself from heart disease or diabetes, it pays to protect yourself from occupational hearing loss and hearing problems caused by exposure to loud music, power motors, and sport weapons.
Industrial workplace noises, gunfire, loud music, and other common, everyday sounds that are louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. Just how loud is 85 decibels? Take a look at these decibel ratings and permissible exposure times provided by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NIOSH)
Intensities of Common Sounds in Decibels
|Sounds||Intensities||Permissible exposure time|
|City traffic, inside the car||85 dB||8 hours|
|Bulldozer||88 dB||4 hours|
|Jazz concert||91 dB||2 hours|
|Power mower||94 dB||1 hour|
|Nightclub||97 dB||30 minutes|
|Ambulance siren, inside|
driver window down
|100 dB||15 minutes|
|Rock concert, leaf blower||115 dB||30 seconds|
|Jet from 100 feet||135 dB|
|Gun shot||145 dB|
|12-gauge Shotgun||165 dB|
Who Needs Ear Protection at Work – YOU
According to the NIOSH, approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, causing an estimated $242 million per year to be spent on worker’s compensation due to hearing loss disability. As a result NIOSH recommends “all worker exposures to noise be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss. NIOSH also recommends a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.”
Additionally, NIOSH recommends a hearing loss prevention program that includes the use of hearing protection devices, periodic hearing tests and education for workers, along with administrative controls that include accurate record keeping, evaluations and audits.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to happen to you.
Now is the time to let hearing aids improve your hearing loss!