Keep an Ear Out
Ear Safety, like all aspects of safety is aimed at keeping ourselves and our senses safe from danger and/or permanent damage while working under extreme circumstances. There are many of us in the workforce that have jobs where we are constantly surrounded by constant loud noises. These noises have a chance to injure our ear drums and lessen our hearing. Whether you work around specialized equipment that produces high volume noise, or even operate a vehicle such as a loud riding mower, the types of ear safety dangers that are involved in our jobs should always be observed and the proper precautions taken.
Not sure whether or not you may have the chance to fall victim to ear safety dangers? Here are some ear safety tips to determine whether or not you should be wearing protective gear to keep yourself safe when working. Below we have proposed some ear safety questions to help prepare you for your next shift at work. Whether or not your employer has made you aware of these ear safety concerns, OSHA has specific and mandatory requirements when it comes to the matter of protecting your ears at work.
Ear Safety Questions
Next time you head into work and find yourself without the proper safety equipment you need to protect your ears while performing your work duties, there are some simple questions you may want to ask yourself to better determine if you may be at risk of injury and possible loss of your hearing.
- How many hour of the day are you exposed to loud noise in your workplace?
- How loud exactly are the noises that you are forced to work with on a daily basis?
- How far away do the noises come from?
- Are the noises created by your equipment only? (making these noises fairly close to yourself)
- Does noise surround you?
- Is everyone at your job working with some sort of equipment that creates sound?
- Does equipment that produce noise surround you in your work environment?
- How many sources produce sound in your workplace?
- Have you experienced any problems hearing since being exposed to noise at work?
- How do you feel about the situation?
- Have you felt as though you should be supplied with ear safety gear?
- Perhaps, have you gone so far as to provide your own ear safety protection equipment?
Ear Safety Protection Tips
Our ears are an amazing organic device! We can hear hundreds of thousands of varying sounds, frequencies, pitches, and noises! Our ears have tiny hairs located near our eardrum which vibrate when sounds are made around us and our hearing turns those vibrations into sounds that we understand and to which we can relate. Sometimes when we are exposed to too great a decibel level of sound it can cause damage to these tiny hairs and the cells inside our inner ear. Once injured, our hearing is most likely irrevocably damaged to the point where it cannot be restored to allow us to hear like we once did. We may lose only a small portion of our ability to hear, or we may lose our ability to hear all together. By following some simple steps and ear safety tips in the workplace we can avoid hearing loss and damage completely.
Removing hazardous noise from the workplace through engineering controls (e.g. installing a muffler or building an acoustic barrier) is the most effective way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing protectors such as ear plugs and ear muffs should be used when it is not feasible to otherwise reduce noise to a safe level. NIOSH recommends hearing loss prevention programs for all workplaces with hazardous levels of noise. These programs should include noise assessments, engineering controls, audiometric monitoring of workers’ hearing; appropriate use of hearing protectors, worker education, record keeping, and program evaluation.
Provided by: CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention