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Protecting Your Hearing in the Workplace 

 October 18, 2019

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While many of us work in noisy environments, for some, the noise levels are harmful to health. Factory workers, construction workers, landscapers and anyone who works in an environment that regularly uses noisy machinery need to take extra steps to ensure that constant or loud noise doesn’t damage their hearing. In fact, October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month,” a time to raise awareness about what you need to do to protect your hearing.

Who’s at Risk for Hearing Loss?

While people tend to blame loud infrequent events for hearing loss – think fireworks or a loud concert – the truth is that it’s the everyday exposure to noise that can cause long-term hearing damage. This can happen both in the workplace or out of it: for example, mowing your lawn, weed whacking or even attending a fitness class that uses loud music can harm hearing. Many of us listen to music on our phones using earbuds, and there’s evidence that we’re turning the volume up too high. The rule of thumb is that if you need to shout to make yourself heard, it’s too loud to be safe for long periods.

In short, nearly everyone is at risk for hearing loss today. According to the CDC, hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the U.S. today. In fact, about 40 million adults aged 20 to 69 have noise-induced hearing loss, and about 1 in 4 adults who report “excellent to good” hearing already have hearing damage.

How to Prevent Hearing Loss

While exposure to one-time events such as sporting activities or a concert may cause ringing in the ears and other symptoms that will graduate dissipate, long-term exposure can permanently damage the inner ear.

Ways to protect your hearing include turning the volume down, of course, and also taking periodic breaks from the noise. If the loud noise is something you’re exposed to regularly, it’s important to use hearing protection. Hearing protection devices reduce the level of sound entering your ear, rather than blocking out sound completely. It’s important to choose the right equipment, however: hearing protection that doesn’t fit properly will not protect you. The CDC has a recommendation page that outlines the different types of hearing protection products available today.

Use Professionally Designed Hearing Protection Equipment

While it may seem tempting to buy earplugs at the pharmacy, those plugs may have not been designed to properly protect your ears. (They might keep out water, but they won’t keep out sound.) Look for professional products that have been designed to fit properly and effectively reduce noise.

1stAidSupplies.com’s ear protection catalog has many different types of hearing protection products such as earmuffs and earplugs that are available in a wide variety of types to suit all needs.

Call 818-838-7000 ext. 104 or visit our website for prices and details.

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