Welcome to hearing protection and your right to know.
Hearing protection 103012
Corporate Hearing Protection ProgramWelcomeCan you hear meI hope you can!
Hearing Protection at Work Hearing protection is a critical part of your PPE (personal protection equipment) program. Hearing loss can be sudden or can occur over a period of time Your employer must measure areas or have a hearing protection program You must protect yourself, it is your hearing.
Noise Exposure at WorkHearing Loss PreventionHearing conservation programs are design toprevent noise induced hearing loss. A writtenhearing conservation program is required by theOccupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) “whenever employee noise exposuresequal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted averagesound level (TWA) of 85 decibels measured on the Ascale (slow response) or, equivalently, a dose of fiftypercent.” This 8-hour time-weighted average isknown as an exposure action value.
Meeting OSHA Training RequirementsEngineering Controls: 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1) requires that “feasibleadministrative or engineering controls shall be utilized. If such controls fail toreduce sound levels…personal protective equipment shall be provided andused to reduce sound levels…”Monitoring: 29 CFR 1910.95(d) requires that monitoring be conducted when“any employee’s exposure may equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weightedaverage of 85 decibels.Testing: 29 CFR 1910.95(g) requires an “audiometric testing program” for “allemployees whose exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weightedaverage of 85 decibels”.Hearing Protectors: 29 CFR 1910.95(i) states that “employers shall makehearing protectors available to all employees exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels or greater at no cost to the employees”Training: 29 CFR 1910.95(k) mandates an annual “training program” for “allemployees who are exposed to noise at or above an 8-hour time-weightedaverage of 85 decibels…” and mandates certain aspects of the training thatmust be included. This includes the effects of noise on hearing; purpose,advantages, disadvantages, and attenuation of different types of hearingprotectors; purpose audiometric testing.Record Keeping: 29 CFR 1910.95(m) states that employers “shall maintain anaccurate record of all employee exposure measurements…”
Noise Exposure At Work This presentation will cover the following topics: The effects of noise on hearing, Hearing protection – their purpose, types and use, The purpose of audiometric testing and how it works, Your right to see noise measurement records and hearing test results. 1
Effects of exposure to loud noise Exposure to loud noise will inevitably cause hearing loss over time. Loud noise damages or destroys the nerves in the inner ear. Another effect can be “tinnitus” or permanent ringing in the ear. 2
Damage “Once the nerves of the inner ear are destroyed or damaged from exposure to excessive noise, the damage is permanent. It doesn’t matter where we are exposed to excessive loud noise – it can occur at work, at home, or at play. Power tools, recreational equipment, musical bands or headphones can all generate excessive noise. ”
When is Noise Too Loud?Noise is measured in units called“decibels” or “dB”If two people 3 feet apart mustshout to be heard, the backgroundnoise is too loud (above 85 Whatdecibels). Get ?? bottles•Noise above 140 decibels causespain and immediate hearing loss. 3
Is it loud? “People with normal hearing usually must raise their voices to hear each other if background noise level is above 85 decibels. People with some hearing loss will have difficulty hearing at lower levels of background noise. An example of noise over 140 decibels is gunshots. Unprotected exposure to noise over 115 decibels greatly increases the risk of hearing loss.”
Long Term Exposure to NoiseOur ears can recover fromshort exposure to loudnoise, but over time nervedamage will occur.The longer and louder thenoise, the greater chancepermanent damage willoccur.There is really no suchthing as “tough ears” or“getting used to it”. 4
Long Term Exposure to Noise“The damage from exposureto noise occurs in the innerthe ear (the cochlea). Thereare tiny hair cells in this partof the ear that are flatten outwhen exposed to noise. If theexposure is short, the haircells raise back up. If theexposure is long or extremelyloud, the hair cells don’trecover and hearing ability isreduced. When all the haircells are damaged, completedeafness occurs. People whosay they are “used to thenoise” often have already lost 4
Effects of noise to inner earHair cells in inner ear transmit noise signalsto the brain.Normal hair cells Noise-damaged hair cells“ These are photos greatly magnified showing the hair cells in the innerear. The photo on the right shows hairs on top completely destroyed byexposure to excessive noise. Usually the hair cells that detect higherpitches are damaged or destroyed first.” 5
Hearing Loss From Noise ExposureHearing loss from noise Eh. What did yaexposure is usually not say?noticed because it is sogradual.Usually a person loses theability to hear higher pitchesfirst.Often the first noticeableeffect is difficulty in hearingspeech. 6
Indications of Hearing Loss “Speech includes higher pitches such as in the letter “s”. People who have some hearing loss will often say “I can hear you talking, but I can’t understand you”. The difficulty in hearing speech is usually worse in a crowded room when many people are talking.” Other signs that a person is losing their hearing is that they will often turn up a TV or radio, or they may say they can’t hear birds singing anymore. Hearing aids only partially help people with severe hearing loss.
Tinnitus From Noise ExposureExposure to high noise levelscan also cause permanentringing in the ear or “tinnitus”.Tinnitus sufferers usuallycomplain of constantwhistling, squealing, roaring orbuzzing in one or both ears.Severe tinnitus may disruptsleep, reduce concentration andcause irritability and depression. 7
Tinnitus Help “Tinnitus is difficult to treat. Many doctors will tell a person with tinnitus that “they just have to live with it” . There are several treatments that can provide some relief however, including certain drugs, masking devices worn in the ears, or other devices which help the brain ignore the sound.
What is Too Much Noise Exposure?Damage from noise exposuredepends on the loudness andlength of exposure.Scientific studies have shown thathearing loss can occur when 8-houraverage noise exposure exceeds 85decibels.“The greater the noise level, the more quickly hearing loss will occur.Short exposure to very loud noise can cause a temporary hearing loss.Normal hearing will return if no further exposure occurs. But years ofexposure to very loud noise, even if the time of exposure is short eachday, will gradually cause hearing loss. Most people can tolerateexposure to noise levels under 85 decibels for years without anynoticeable hearing loss.” 8
What is Too Much Noise Exposure?The risk of hearing loss increasesdramatically as noise levels increase.Exposure to noise levels above 115decibels for even five minutes is veryrisky.Impact or banging noise above 140decibels will cause immediatedamage to nerves in the ear.“Gunshots and jet engine noise is typicallyat 140 decibels or above depending onhow close you are.” 9
Daily Allowable Exposure Times to NoiseThe table below shows noise levels and how long a personcan be exposed without hearing protection before there isdamage to the ear.Noise Level Allowable Exposure Time85 decibels 8 hours90 decibels 4 hours100 decibels 1 hour105 decibels 30 minutes110 decibels 15 minutes115 decibels 0 minutes“These limits are found in the WISHA regulations on noise and arebased on scientific studies of the effects of loud noise on people.You can work in areas with these noise levels as long as you haveproper hearing protection – ear muffs or ear plugs.” 10
Noisy areas & equipment at our company List or discuss your noisy equipment and noise sources and their noise levels here.Equipment RoomKuglarB&SLibraBrevettiMarchesiniTrash CompactorWater RoomCompressor AreaMechanical Shop 12
Noise controls we use in our workplaceEquipment or methods you have used toreduce noise levels to employees –enclosures, barriers, mufflers, noiseabsorbing materials, etc. and/or the useof hearing protection. 13
Types of Hearing Protection There are three types of hearing protection – ear muffs, earplugs and ear caps. Each of these types are available at Corporate Labs Ear muffs and earplugs provide about equal protection, ear caps somewhat less.earmuffs earplugs ear caps 14
Types of Hearing ProtectorsAll hearing protectors aredesigned to reduce the intensity(loudness) of noise to the innerear.They work much better thanwads of cotton or bits of clothstuffed in the ear.All three types have advantagesand disadvantages and peoplevary on which they prefer to use. Cotton doesn’t work!! 15
Hearing Protection – Ear PlugsEarplugs are made of foam,rubber or plastic and areeither one-size-fits-all or insizes small, medium andlarge.Some are disposable, someare reusable.They are lightweight, andrequire no maintenance.They are inserted into the earcanal. 16
Ear Plug ComfortSome people may find earplugs uncomfortable to wearfor long periods at first.Ear plugs rarely causeinfection or prolongedirritation of the ear canal.Most people can find acomfortable fit by tryingseveral different sizes, typesor brands.Custom-molded earplugs canbe obtained for maximumcomfort. custom molded earplugs 17
Inserting Foam Earplugs Foam type earplugs are one-size-fits-all and must be inserted properly into the ear.Roll earplug into small cylinder first, then insert in ear. 18
Inserting Foam EarplugsEarplug incorrectly inserted Earplug correctly inserted “The left picture shows plugs only partially inserted into the ear canal – a common mistake.” 19
Ear Muffs Ear muffs cover the whole ear and are preferred by some people. They have replaceable pads and some high-tech styles filter out specific noise pitches. They last longer than most plugs. “The red muff shows the replaceable pads. These pads can become flattened, cracked or break down over time resulting in a poor seal on the head and noise leakage into the ear.” “Ear muffs are slightly better at reducing low-frequency (roaring or rumbling) noise.” 20
Attached Earmuffs Some muffs are attached to hard hats or goggles. Some high-tech muffs can filter out certain frequencies or have radios inside for communication in high noise areas. “Most earmuffs attached to hardhats are somewhat less protective than stand alone earmuffs. For really loud noise levels, earplugs can be worn under earmuffs.” 21
Ear Muff Comfort & Glasses Muffs can be uncomfortable in hot weather.Muffs don’t seal well forsomeone with glasses or heavysideburns. 22
Ear CapsEar caps are likeearplugs, exceptthey do not go intothe ear canal, theyonly block it.They are good foroccasional use or forpeople who findearplugsuncomfortable.They are not asprotective asearplugs or muffs. 23
Noise Reduction of Hearing Protection The “noise reduction rating” or “NRR” of hearing protection is measured in decibels. The NRR is found on the earmuff or earplug package. The higher the number, the greater the protection. 24
Hearing Protection Available at our Company Ear Muffs Ear plugs (disposable) 25
How can you hear anything with earmuffs on?Using earmuffs or plugs innoisy areas can actuallymake it easier to hearcoworkers or machinery.They reduce overwhelmingloud background noise.They are similar to darkglasses that reduce the sun’sglare making it easier to see. 26
Proper Use of Hearing ProtectionEarmuffs and plugsprovide good protectiononly when used properly.Sometimes people willremove hearingprotection for “just aminute” in a noisy area.In areas of very highnoise exposure, this couldresult in noiseoverexposure. It won’t protect your ears if it is around your neck!!! 27
Proper Use of Hearing Protection It takes just a few minutes of unprotected exposure at noise above 115 decibels to risk hearing damage. Earplugs not well inserted into the ear canal will not provide complete protection. Likewise, earmuffs not snug against the head will “leak” noise into the ear. “OSHA/DOSH regulations require that we post a warning sign like this one at the entrance or perimeter of an area where the noise level is above 115 decibels.” 28
Hearing Aids Are Not Hearing Protection Hearing aids do not block out enough sound for most workplace noise. Some hearing aids can actually increase the noise level at the ear. Just turning off the hearing aids will not prevent further hearing loss from noise exposure. 29
Portable Radios/CD Players/iPodsThese devices do not provideprotection from noise.The earphones are notearmuffs and the music onlyadds to background othernoise.The music level in theearphones themselves canexceed 85 decibels and causehearing loss. 30
What is Audiometric Testing? “Audiometric testing” is the same thing as hearing tests. It is done by trained technicians to detect any hearing loss. Audiometric testing is required by DOSH for any employees exposed to excessive noise.“Audiometric testing is required of allemployees exposed to 8-hour averagenoise levels of 85 decibels or above.” 31
Purpose of Audiometric TestingMost of us develop a mildhearing loss as we age,especially in the higherpitches.A severe or significanthearing loss at a youngerage may mean you havehad excessive noiseexposure.Audiometric testing doneyearly can detect earlystages of hearing loss. 32
Exposure “Excessive noise exposure can occur at work – or at home. Home activities that include exposure to excessive noise include use of woodworking equipment or chain saws, gun target practice, motorcycle riding, attending rock concerts, or use of headphones with loud music. “ Areas are identified as noise areas at your workplace and employees wear hearing protection properly at all times when exposed to noise.
Audiometric TestingAudiometric testing resultscan be used to check thefollowing: Establish the base line hearing of an employee. If the hearing protection in use is adequate, If there is a change n noise exposure, If there is a medical condition of the ear unrelated to noise exposure. 33
Hearing Loss “Hearing loss can also be caused by ear infections, excessive wax in the ear, or other medical conditions, certain drugs(including some antibiotics), or a hereditary condition. If a hearing loss is detected through audiometric testing, a medical exam is scheduled to determine the cause. If the cause is not medically related, it could be that you are exposed to excessive noise at home or at work. It is important to always wear your hearing protection in noisy areas, that it is adequate for the noise level, and that it is worn properly”
How Does Audiometric Testing Work? When you are first hired, a baseline test is taken. The testing is repeated every year after that and compared to the baseline test result. If a hearing loss is detected, you will be referred to a doctor or audiologist.Based on risk and noise level audits employees must receive abaseline exam within six months of start or if the employees jobchanges into an area that requires an exam. 34
Audiometric TestingAudiometric testing produces printedaudiograms which show hearing abilityat several pitches or frequencies.These frequencies include those of thehuman voice.The second and following year testsare compared to the first year tests orbaseline.“DOSH regulations recommendretesting if there is at least 10 decibelhearing loss in three frequencies. If thesecond test shows similar results, theemployee must be referred to anaudiologist or physician.”If there is hearing loss of 10 decibels or more inthe human voice frequencies, you will be sent tothe doctor or audiologist. 35
What is an Audiogram? An audiogram is a printed chart of the results of the hearing test. They look similar to the results below.Normal hearing Severe hearing loss“The blue x’s are one ear, the green circles are the other ear. The hearing lossshown in these audiograms is in the higher frequencies which is commonly causedby exposure to excessive noise. 36
Noise measurement records &hearing test results You have the right to see noise measurement records and get copies of your hearing test results (if applicable) 37
Noise Audits Noise audits are performed on all rooms containing manufacturing equipment or support equipment.Noise audits may be used in lieu of audiometric testing.Hearing protection audits are a tool for use in evaluatingyour hearing loss prevention program in cases whereaudiometric testing doesnt provide a useful measure. Forexample, if most of your employees are hired on atemporary basis for a few months at a time, audiometrictesting may not identify the small changes in hearingacuity that could occur. Auditing provides an alternative toaudiometric testing in these cases. 38