Listen Up! The Importance of Protecting your Hearing

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips

Working in loud environments can seriously damage your hearing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “about 25% of all workers have been exposed to hazardous noise, and approximately 12% of all workers have hearing difficulty.” Therefore, it is key to understand the dangers of not wearing the appropriate protective equipment and to be aware of the options available to you. 

Types of hearing protection 

There are a few types of hearing protection options available, to suit your comfort as well as what is required or needed depending on your working environment. As outlined by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), the three most common kinds are: earplugs, semi-insert earplugs and earmuffs. 

Earplugs: these are inserted directly into your ear canal and can be “premolded (preformed), moldable, rolldown foam, push-to-fit, or custom molded. Disposable, reusable, and custom earplugs are available.” –CCOHS 

Semi-insert earplugs: these are two earplugs that are positioned over the ends of the ear canal by a headband. 

Earmuffs: these have soft ear cushions that block out sound, fit around the ear, and are held in place by a headband. 

“The hearing protector should provide the desired noise reduction. It is best, where hearing protectors must be used, to provide a choice of a number of different types and sizes to choose from.” –CCOHS 

Why hearing protection is important 

Let’s discuss a few of the top reasons why you should ensure you wear the appropriate hearing protection, and ensure your workers are provided with the necessary equipment while working. 

Prevent hearing loss 

Time spent working in environments where loud noises are present, for extended amounts of time, can lead to permanent hearing damage or loss. By wearing hearing protection, you reduce the intensity of the noise, and protect the structures of your inner ear from injury. 

Sustain quality of life 

Experiencing hearing loss can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Hearing loss can cause difficulty communicating, stress, and may negatively affect your mental health.  

Tinnitus, a common injury people incur, is caused by not wearing hearing protection. Individuals who have tinnitus will hear ringing, or other noises, in one or both ears. The Mayo Clinic mentions the following sounds that people might sustain such as buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing or humming. 

These sounds occur internally when there is no external noise present. To help protect yourself both physical and mentally, wearing the proper protective equipment is crucial. 

Compliance 

Safety and compliance are our top priority! Depending on where you work, and the job you do, there are rules and regulations in place to protect workers from noise that can cause damage to their ears and hearing. It may even be a legal requirement and it is necessary to abide by these rules to ensure the well-being of workers is maintained. For example, if noise exposure levels on your worksite meet or exceed 85 decibels, you are required to wear adequate hearing protection. 

If you are interested in finding out more about protecting your hearing at work, DF Safety offers an online course, Hearing Protection Training, which is designed as a general overview of personal hearing protection equipment. It also covers information on how to select, fit, and maintain the equipment. If you have questions or would like to chat more about safety in your workplace, contact our team today