A recently published research article citing data from “National Health Interview Surveys” found hearing protection was not used by 53% of workers in high noise environments. That’s alarming – more than half of the workforce is opting to keep ears open and exposed to loud noises. Head’s up: hard-to-hear can lead to hard-of-hearing.
WHAT KINDS OF NOISES SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED WITH?
Every day we experience a variety of noises. It’s just part of our lives in the modern world. Whether you’re working on a construction crew, in a factory, or jamming to your tunes with your earbuds, loud noises are all around us.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by extremely high levels of noise. It can either be a consequence of high noise levels over a period of time, or by one single incident at the highest end of the scale. Here’s a list of some example noises and their approximate decibel levels:
HEARING PROTECTION AND COMMUNICATING – WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
The conundrum of using hearing protection or interacting with others has been around as long as humans have been sticking things in our ears to block bothersome noises. In some cases, it may be okay if you’re ear-plugged up and doing a one-man job in a safe environment. But when the project requires coordination with others and maintaining an awareness of your surroundings, you’re going to need your ears back. Now what?
A creative crew can come up with a few options:
- What about hand signals? That’s great, unless hands need to stay on the work. And are your coworkers always within line of sight and focusing on you?
- You can yell. Yes, but can you compete with the noise? Talking loudly takes a toll. It saps energy, can make you hoarse, and sometimes makes others think you’re ticked off at them.
- Use phones or radio. Doesn’t block out the work noise and makes it hard to hear and communicate. You’re exposing your ears to potentially dangerous levels of noise and taking your hands off your work.
Something else: it’s more than just voices we need to be alert to. It’s situational awareness we’re concerned with – what’s happening around us so we’re in tune with our environment and not isolated?
While not new on the scene but gaining in popularity, wireless communication headsets make sense because they’re not handsets – they’re on your head and out of your hands. Better even, they’re providing passive hearing protection by enclosing your ears. When properly adjusted for personal fit, you’ll get comfort AND protection from outside sounds while easily talking with others on your team.
Must-have headset features:
- Listen-through to bring in outside sounds while still protecting your hearing.
- Full-duplex audio technology allowing natural conversation, just like a phone call.
- Rugged design to withstand the work for a long life; not disposable.
Learn more about how Sonetics wireless headsets can protect your hearing all while you hear your surroundings in high noise environments.