According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to noise levels at their jobs that can cause short- or long-term damage to their hearing. It is estimated that $242 million is spent on worker’s compensation claims for hearing loss every year.
How Loud Noise Can Affect Employees’ Hearing
Loud noise can kill nerve endings in the inner ear and can lead to permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected with medication or surgery. Short-term exposure to loud noise can cause tinnitus, a temporary change in hearing or ringing in the ears. This can go away shortly after leaving a noisy area, but long-term exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus.
Noise-induced hearing loss can limit a person’s ability to hear high-frequency sounds. It can also limit the ability to understand speech, which can affect a person’s ability to communicate. Hearing aids may be helpful, but they cannot restore normal hearing.
Government Limits on Noise Exposure in the Workplace
OSHA puts limits on the amount of noise that is acceptable in a workplace. The permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA for all employees over an eight-hour day. If the noise level increases by 5 dBA, the amount of time a worker can be exposed to that amount of noise is cut in half.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that workplace noise levels be limited to 85 dBA for eight hours. It also recommends that for every 3 dBA increase in noise levels, the amount of time a person is exposed should be cut in half.
Order Hearing Protection Equipment for Your Employees
Employees have the right to a safe workplace that does not jeopardize their health. If you run a business where there is often a lot of noise, such as a factory, you have a duty to take steps to protect your employees’ hearing.
You can protect your workers’ hearing with equipment such as earmuffs and earplugs. 1st Aid Supplies offers a complete line of hearing protection equipment that can significantly reduce the amount of noise your employees are exposed to and protect their hearing. Order hearing protection equipment from 1st Aid Supplies today.