About Hearing Protection
The Noise at work directives make it a requirement than employers assess and measure staff exposure levels to sound and take action to protect them from hearing damage if the sound levels can not be brought down to a reasonable level. Good ear defenders of ear muffs provide protection from loud noise as well as constant background sounds.
TYPES OF EAR PROTECTION
SNR LevelsThe SNR level ( Single Number Rating ) denotes the level to which an employee is being protected by a hearing protection device. As this is measured in decibels it is simple to subtract the ear defender's SNR rating from the actual background noise levels (in decibels) to give the actual value of acoustic pressure on the ears.
Noise Levels are cumulative as well as immediate - so exposure to noise is not solely measured by event, but by levels over time as well.
- Assess Noise Levels - take readings to define current danger
- Control - where possible diminish or eliminate potentially harfmful noise
- Training - make sure that your employees understand risks and how to evade harm
- Supply - supply the correct equipment for the workforce/ environment
Are You at Risk
Although the onus is upon he employer, the employee also has a personal responsibility for personal safety .
- Duration - are you aware of intrusive noise for most of the working day?
- Industry - Do you work in any of the following undustries : construction, demolition or road repair; woodworking; plastics processing; engineering; textile manufacture; general fabrication; forging, pressing or stamping; paper or board making; canning or bottling; foundries.
- Impact - are there frequent impact, bangs, crashes, horns , explosions etc at work.
- Machinery - do you use noisy powered tools or machinery for over half an hour a day?
Symptoms of hearing Damage
There are signs that your hearing maybe damaged:
- Conversation - becomes difficult or impossible
- Television - family complains about the television being too loud
- Assonant - it becomes difficult to distinguish between certain assonant consonants such as t, d and s
- Tinitus - ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears
There are a great many solutions available to protect your hearing whilst at work. Once noise levels have been expertly assessed then you can buy ear plugs, ear defenders or even hearing protection apparatus with communications.