According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 30 million people annually are exposed to hazardous noise levels and since 2004, 125,000 workers have suffered significant and permanent hearing loss.
Loud noises, the constant drone of machines, as well as hazardous poisons referred to as ototoxic chemicals can cause significant and irreparable hearing damage. Hearing loss can result in many workplace complications including an increase in stress, reduced productivity, and an increased risk of workplace injuries. Fortunately, hearing loss can be preventable. So how do you protect yourself from losing such a valuable faculty? Here are three prevention and safety suggestions to ensure that you stay all ears.
- Wearing proper ear protection
Hearing protection devices (HPD’s) are a simple way to put a barrier between your ears and the ruckus of the workplace. OSHA requires employers to have an “effective hearing conservation program“ available to employees. This program requires employers to provide sound level sampling, informational material to inform workers of the hazards, and appropriate protective gear.
- Regular Hearing Checkups
Another requirement for applicable employers is the implementation and maintenance of continual audiometric testing. These checkups are important and allow for employees to monitor their hearing and the effects that workplace noise has on it. By keeping an eye on your ears you can take preventative measures if hearing loss begins to develop.
- Read the Materials Safety Data Sheets
Ototoxic chemicals are substances that can permanently damage the inner ear if you’re exposed to them. Industries that have potential exposure to dangerous chemicals should have materials safety data sheets available to employees in the form of a book or online. If you’re concerned that the chemicals you handle everyday may have an adverse effect on you, review the safety materials provided by your employer.
Hearing is important and without it, many daily tasks can be hindered by an impairment. Hearing loss is preventable but you have to do your part. If you have tips on how you protect your ears, share them in the comment section below.