Jake was a jack of all trades.
He had been working at the construction site for about 5 years and he loved it. However, one day when he came home from work there was a ringing in his ears that wouldn’t stop.
The next day Jake went to the doctor to see what was going on. Sadly, Jake had tinnitus. A hearing condition caused by repetitive loud noises at work.
Are you wondering how to keep your ears safe from loud environments?
Read on to learn all about hearing protection and noise control.
Loud Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
First, let’s discuss the dangers of noisy work environments. Loud noises at job sites are inevitable, especially for construction workers.
However, allowing a worksite to have unmonitored noise levels can lead to all sorts of health complications, such as hearing loss. How does hearing loss happen?
The easiest way is to be exposed to continuous, loud noise without any hearing protection. Although worksites in construction often have ear protection for workers, many are still found without them on the job site. Even moderate noise exposure increases the risk of permanent hearing loss over time.
At the worksite, it is important to wear ear protection year-round. Hearing impairment may be present and undiagnosed in a worker before the damage becomes permanent and obvious. Thus, it is very important for those exposed to loud noises often in their work environment to have regular professional checkups on frequent exposure levels.
Types of Hearing Protection
There are various forms of protection for your ears. In addition to singular earplugs or earmuffs, there are also hearing protection devices with muffs and plugs combined.
Whatever type of protection you choose, it likely can be custom-fitted. Some types require special sizing by an audiologist before use.
Once fitted properly, they should be comfortable for long periods. Make sure you have any ear protection regularly checked once it has been used for some time as it may need to be replaced.
Always make sure the hearing protection you choose is the right size. There are several ways to do this. One is to try on a variety of different hearing protectors in a store specializing in hearing safety products.
You can even speak to them if possible to do a sound test. Once you find one that fits comfortably, its brand and model should fit your ears well without any outside noise seeping in.
Next, try hearing protectors that have removable parts that can be adjusted for a better fit. These types of earplugs and headphones serve as an additional option if the above options do not work well for you. Finally, practice putting the hearing protector on before wearing them in the noise.
Start a Noise Control Program
What is a noise control program, exactly? It’s a way of monitoring and enforcing noise levels on a job site. The best way to start a noise program is by assessing the volume around your worksite, using something like an inexpensive decibel meter.
Decibels are units of sound measurement. Sounds at 70 decibels, or lower, are safe. Sounds above 85 decibels are likely to cause hearing damage.
Noise level assessments will help keep track of changes in volume around your job sites, which are often quite noisy environments. Then, it’s up to the supervisor to enforce strict rules for wearing ear protection on the job site.
How to Perform Noise Assessments
One tip for completing successful noise assessments is to have different equipment and tool use periods on your worksite. The supervisor can then measure noise levels during each of these work periods.
For instance, measure before the tools or equipment is used in a job. Then measure again when they’re being used normally. Lastly, assess noise levels after someone has taken actions to eliminate excessive loud noises.
Protect Hearing With Noise Reduction
Now that we have discussed ways to keep protection perpetually available as well as methods for measuring everyday noise, let’s take a look at some solutions for reducing dangerous noise levels. When it comes to safety, there is no time like the present!
For starters, workers should be sure to transport construction materials and tools in enclosed vehicles to reduce the noise. Next, keep a sufficient distance between people who use loud power tools during your worksite’s construction. Supervisors can also look into getting sound stopper noise control systems, to take safety to the next level.
If possible, don’t make repetitive noises while doing the same jobs over and over again because it increases noise levels dramatically. Lastly, make sure all machinery used on your job site is maintained properly.
Increase Workplace Productivity
Lowering noise levels at the worksite help improve productivity in several ways. For one, employees will have a healthier work environment, and happy workers are almost always more productive. Reducing noise levels will also make it easier for workers to focus on the task at hand.
Another major benefit of reducing noise levels is that it’ll help improve communication between employees working in different parts of a facility. Instead of yelling, or relying on text messages, employees can simply talk to each other. Lastly, there will be fewer accidents because workers will be able to communicate and hear each other better when noise is reduced.
Find Your Perfect Fit
It’s clear to see that hearing protection is crucial for those at loud job sites. Supervisors should be in control of the noise levels to help protect their employees from hearing loss and tinnitus.
Noise-controlled sites are also safer because they help keep workers happy while also keeping them healthy! After all, no one wants to yell throughout their entire workday.
Start trying out different types of earplugs and muffs today, until you find a pair that works well for you. Remember, you might have to get a custom-fitted pair for the best results. For more tips, read another article.