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Don’t Make This Costly Mistake

Are you struggling to understand what people say to you? Has it become less enjoyable to listen to music, watch TV, or go out in crowded places? Perhaps for you this happens because the music you often hear is not by your selection, because it’s so hard to find something good on TV, or because you’re an introvert. For a huge number of people it’s not about choice or personality, it’s because their hearing is damaged.

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical health condition in the U.S.,” said Col. Phillip Goff, the associate chief for Bioenvironmental Engineering in the Air Force Medical Support Agency. “However, many people do not know what level of noise presents a risk to their hearing.” [1]

In the workplace you might be guided by a government agency’s guidelines for addressing the question of “How much noise is too much?” and “What must we do to protect the hearing of our people?”. That agency is OSHA. 

Excerpt from OSHA Standard 1910.95 Occupational noise exposure.
Excerpt from OSHA Standard 1910.95 Occupational noise exposure.

A shocking fact I learned is that despite all the knowledge, planning, the awareness of risks to our hearing, the training and education I have seen as an employee, the Personal Protection Equipment to prevent damage…

Despite the good intentions, and despite wearing the recommended hearing protection, if you do everything as required while working in a sufficiently loud environment the OSHA 1910.95 standard for Occupational Noise Exposure is not set up so hearing damage will not occur!

They want you to be able to carry on a conversation within a bubble of space ending roughly 6 feet away from you. Damage from noise, defined here [OSHA Standard 1910.95 Occupational noise exposure.], is not to be eliminated but reduced. 

It’s Ok If You Didn’t Know The Risks. It’s Not Ok to Ignore the Risks.

If your hearing gets damaged it’s never going to be the same, even as hearing aids get more advanced. That loud music you enjoy? It’s still fun while wearing hearing protection. You’re only going to use the saw for a few minutes on that home improvement project? It’s not worth the risk, get ear plugs and USE THEM. 

A ear plugs B man wearing hearing aid
Option A or B?

Barry Schanz


[1] Moody noise study to promote hearing health
[2] OSHA Standard 1910.95 Occupational noise exposure.

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