As a doctor, I see a lot of patients who are surprised to speak with me when they’re in their early 40’s. I’ve just told them they have mild to moderate hearing loss.
Like most of my patients, a 45YO man I’ll call Juan came to see me. Juan had been working at a food processing plant in the city for nearly 10 years. His primary doctor referred him to me.
Hearing loss had begun to impact him at home and work. He could no longer compose music, an important hobby of his. And he and his wife were becoming increasingly agitated over misunderstandings.
Juan’s was an extreme case. But like many of the patients I see, Juan’s hearing loss was likely work-related. And for this reason, many employers are turning to hearing experts to help them develop custom hearing protection plans.
Work-related hearing loss risks to your employees
The CDC estimates that 25% of cases of hearing loss are directly caused by the work environment, such as:
- Loud noise
- Prolonged exposure to moderately-loud noise
- Chemical solvents
At just 85 decibels, damage can occur with prolonged exposure. That’s roughly the volume of a raised voice, not quite yelling.
And if levels are over 110, irreversible damage happens within minutes. That’s around the volume of someone yelling.
Are your employees around machinery, vehicles, or power tools? Sound levels are easily higher than this.
The benefits of custom hearing protection
What are the benefits for your employees?
Custom hearing protection is made to fit employee ears. So protection stays in place. It blocks more noise. And it blocks the right amount of noise to prevent hearing loss. Employees are more likely to wear them.
What are the benefits for employers?
Custom hearing protection eliminates many barriers employers face. These include trying to enforce the wearing of proper protection.
Employees do not resist proper protection because they do not know about hearing loss. And it’s not that they do not care.
Often wearing protection is at odds with performing their work. Blanket solutions use a broad brush to paint the situation. They don’t thoroughly address hearing-related dangers.
But custom hearing protection is precisely adapted to both the work environment and the workers themselves.
What does a custom hearing protection plan include?
- Reasonable controls. Take reasonable efforts to reduce noise levels and duration.
- Monitoring. Identify the areas of greater exposure. Please take steps to protect workers and reduce their time there.
- Testing. Regular testing for employees exposed to more than 8-hours of 85 dB. An independent audiologist should conduct these tests to avoid conflict of interest.
- Hearing protection. Make reasonable protection available. For this to be a custom hearing protection plan, that protection should be customized. It should align with each employee’s needs for proper fit and adequate protection.
- Training. A plan includes annual training and new hire training on the dangers of noise exposure and how to prevent damage.
- Record keeping
Customer hearing protections plans made easy
I partner with businesses to make hearing protection planning easier for employers. Together we can ensure that employees like Juan feel safe and supported by their company.
Contact my center to schedule an appointment.