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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Can You Hear Me Now?

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Noise is one of the most common health problems in workplaces today. Right now, about 30 million workers are exposed to high noise levels. If you’re one of those workers, you may be losing some of your hearing. And, you might not realize it until it’s too late!!!

Most of us take hearing for granted. When we go home at the end of a workday and when we get up in the morning, we expect to hear well. Our ears can distinguish 400,000 different sounds and can detect sounds so quiet that they cause the eardrum to vibrate less than 1/80,000th of an inch. But that remarkable sensitivity doesn’t have a lifetime guarantee—to maintain it, you have to care for it.

NO TURNING BACK

Although noise-related hearing loss is a common occupational illness, it’s often ignored because:

  • There are no visible effects
  • It usually develops over a long period of time, and
  • Except in very rare cases, there is no pain.

It happens so gradually that you don’t notice it at first, but once hearing is gone, there is no turning back.

SAVED BY HEARING PROTECTORS

If you’re exposed to high noise levels, we have taken the proper steps to eliminate or reduce the noise. Make sure you communicate with your supervisor and ask him to provide you earplugs, earmuffs or find a way to avoid noise areas. But, do hearing protectors affect your ability to hear and respond to alarms, warning shouts, or simple directions?

Some protectors reduce certain frequencies more than others, so wearing them can make noises sound different. There are also noise-activated hearing protectors that allow normal sounds to pass through the ear and only “turn-on” when the noise reaches hazardous levels.

HEARING AIDS ARE NO EXCUSE!!!

If you already have a hearing loss and wear hearing aids, it’s especially important to protect your remaining hearing by wearing protectors. Loud noises can continue to damage your hearing, making it even more difficult to communicate with co-workers, family and friends. Wear those protectors!

STAY IN-TUNE

Just because it’s not obvious or immediate as a cut or sprain doesn’t make hearing loss less meaningful. Wear hearing protectors every time is required, example shotgun, miter saw, chop- saw, hammer drill etc. Because, in most cases, lost hearing can never be regained—it’s gone forever, along with a certain quality of life.

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