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This entry was posted on 2nd January 2017 by Gary.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss is one of the more common types/causes of hearing loss. Thousands of employees who have been exposed to high levels of noise for years of their working life may have noise-induced hearing loss of a mild, moderate or even severe degree.
In basic terms; within the inner portion of our ears are tiny ‘hair-cells’ that are essential in the process of receiving information from incoming sound waves and then passing this onto the nerve pathways to travel to the brain for interpretation. Sustained exposure to high levels of noise can damage these hair-cells. Damage can also be caused by a brief but intense burst of sound (like an explosion) – a so-called sound trauma. Hair-cells do not regenerate and any resultant hearing loss is permanent.
Based on the 2005-government noise regulations businesses should monitor and actively protect their employees from the risks of noise induced hearing loss. Here are 10 means that when enforced together can significantly lower the health risks posed by high levels of noise.
1. Perform noise tests - Health and safety consultant should carryout an investigation to highlight areas exceeding noise levels of >85db.
2. Noise tests should be performed on a regular basis - Areas which have acceptable noise levels today, can change over time. Therefore, noise tests should be performed from time to time as deem necessary by the health and safety consultants.
3. Employees to be made aware of the risks - Those working in noisy environments should be made aware of the risks posed by noise to their hearing.
4. Move to quieter processes - The one means to help guarantee no noise induced hearing loss is to move to quieter processes and replace noisy machinery.
5. Offer a means to report noise hazards - Employees who feel that they are at risk of noise induced hearing loss should be given means to report the area. The new hazard could then be targeted for noise control enforcement.
6. Use hearing protection – earplugs. In areas deemed potentially harmful, hearing protection should be compulsory. Earplugs typcially carry an upper ceiling noise protection level of 20db. The levels of protection offered will vary according to their fit and material used.
7. Use hearing protection - earmuffs - These can carry a higher noise protection ceiling and can be used together with earplugs. The degree of noise protection will vary depending on their measured standard.
8. Hearing protection training - Use of any noise protection aids should include training on their correct use, removal and maintenance.
9. Hearing tests - Employees who work in noisy environments should have access to hearing health professionals, for regular hearing screening tests, and further diagnostic testing if required
10. Managed by a health and safety professionals - It is important that the efforts to reduce noise induced hearing loss are managed and a professional measures their effectiveness.
This entry was posted in Hearing Information on 2nd January 2017 by Gary.
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