According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the US. Almost twice as many people report hearing loss as report diabetes or cancer.
Noise exposure away from your job can damage your hearing just as much as working in a noisy place. Being around too much loud noise—like using a leaf blower or going to loud concerts—can cause permanent hearing loss. And once it’s gone, you can’t get it back!
You can have hearing loss before you even notice you’re having problems. Noise is measured in decibels (dB). Over time, listening to loud sounds at high dB levels can cause hearing loss—or other hearing problems like a ringing sound in your ear that won’t go away. The louder a sound is, and the longer you are exposed to it, the more likely it will damage your hearing. The more often you are exposed to loud sounds over time, the more damage occurs.
- About 53% of people ages 20-69 who have hearing damage from noise report no on-the-job exposure.
- About 24% of people ages 20-69 who report having excellent hearing have measurable hearing damage.
- About 20% of adults with no job exposure to loud sounds have hearing damage.
- About 70% of people exposed to loud noise never or seldom wear hearing protection.
- Avoid noisy places whenever possible.
- Use earplugs, protective earmuffs, noise canceling headphones when near loud noises.
- Keep the volume down when watching TV, listening to music, and using earbuds or headphones.
- Ask your doctor for a hearing checkup and how to protect your hearing from noise.
Noise At Work
Construction sites and manufacturing facilities are noisy. If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone 3 feet away, noise levels might be over 85 decibels. 85 decibels is the trigger to alert a company that a noise hearing conservation program is required.
What does OSHA-Cal/OSHA require in a Hearing Conservation Program? First, we have to know the hazard. The noise has to be measured so it can be determined what level of hearing protection is needed. Is hearing protection required at all times or only when performing a certain task.
Once the hazard has been defined, determine who is exposed. Are all employees exposed, only employees in a certain area or only when operating certain machinery?
An audiometric exam is required for employees exposed to noise above the action level within 6 months of start to establish a baseline and then annual tests are required.
What type of hearing protection is required to reduce noise to acceptable levels? Earplugs, earmuffs, or a combination of the two?
A written policy is required.
If you need assistance with your hearing conservation program or have questions, please contact Teddi @ 714.717.9389 or firstname.lastname@example.org/