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, every day 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|
|Night Club||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, the 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
Call The Hearing and Balance Center today and let us
help you protect your hearing
Or click here for our handy webform
Ear Protection for Hunters
Hunting requires one to have the ability to hear very soft sounds, while still protecting the ear from the peak noise levels of a shot gun blast. Fortunately, hunters have many options for protection. Not only can they choose from custom or over-the-counter ear plugs or ear muffs, they can also choose protection devices that provide amplification while reducing the sounds of gunfire down to a safe level.
Ear Protection for Musicians
Professional musicians work in a high-decibel environment in which hearing loss, tinnitus, hyper-sensitivity to sound and sound distortion can result. Traditional earplugs will not work for the professional musician, as they reduce sound by muffling low-to-mid-range frequencies. Special musicians ear molds are available that can protect the musician’s ears from loud sounds without distorting what they hear. Many products are available that will even enhance the music experience.
Ear Protection for Recreational Shooters
Up to 50% of all recreational shooters may suffer some degree of hearing loss of some kind. It is generally thought that prolonged exposure to loud noises in excess of 90 decibels are harmful to hearing. Most gunfire exceeds 130 decibels and requires reliable, quality hearing protection. Using ear protection can prevent needless and permanent damage to hearing.
Electronic earplugs enhance the sounds around you. For example, you can hear game movement, but also reduce impulse sounds such as gunfire, down to a safe level. This helps prevent damage to your hearing. Electronic earplugs are available in custom molds as well as standard, less expensive alternatives.
Ear Protection for Law Enforcement
If you are involved in law enforcement you undoubtedly know how important your sense of hearing is to being effective on the job. You may also have experienced a situation where firing your weapon has temporarily reduced your ability to hear. And if it hasn’t already happened, there may be a future situation where your partner or a member of your team will be forced to fire their weapon in close proximity or in a confined area. The potential damage to your hearing could be severe and could result in irreversible hearing loss.
Ear Protection at Industrial Sites
Loud, constant sounds all day long at work can cause long term hearing problems. Loud, sudden noises (gunfire, industrial noises, woodworking, motorcycles, loud music, motorized lawn equipment, noisy hobbies and other noises louder than 90 db) are more damaging to hearing than regular and extended exposure to loud sounds over a period of time. When properly fitted, earplugs can significantly reduce loud noises and prevent hearing damage and loss. Hearing protectors not properly fitted to the wearer’s ears do not effectively prevent damaging noises from penetrating the ear canal.
Call The Hearing and Balance Center and let us help you
avoid hearing loss with preventive care
Or click here for our handy webform