EARS ARE SENSITIVE
Our ears are sensitive tools that detect vibrations in the air known as noise. Sometimes this noise is important, especially when hearing instructions, enjoying some music, or visiting with our families. Danger comes from noise levels that are too high and damage our ability to use our hearing.
SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM HEARING LOSS
Every day that we go to work we are exposed to noises from pumps and engines that are very loud and this causes us to lose some hearing. If we are vigilant about protecting our hearing at work, then this hearing loss can be limited to a short term and the hearing can restore itself overnight. Over time, if we do not protect our hearing then we will slowly lose hearing day after day. This loss in hearing could be a general difficulty hearing, difficulty hearing at higher frequencies, or loss of hearing in one ear.
Tinnitus is a form of hearing damage that can make it more difficult to hear, but it is not hearing loss per se. When a person develops tinnitus, this causes a sound such as a ringing or whooshing in the ears. This could be a soft and barely noticeable whine or a loud and bothersome tone. Having tinnitus can make it difficult to focus on sounds you want to hear, harm your mood, and be irreversible.
Losing your hearing to high noise exposure can decrease your quality of life permanently. This is why it is important to protect yourself when noise levels can cause damage. In SafeLand training, we show that ear protection must be worn whenever noise levels exceed 85 decibels. It is also important to check your particular hearing protection to make sure that it has the appropriate noise reduction rating over the applicable frequencies. When the noise level exceeds 105 decibels then two forms of hearing protection must be worn; both earplugs and earmuffs are needed.
The bottom line is to always make sure that you have adequate hearing protection around loud noises because the loss of hearing over time may be slow, drastic, and permanent.
Suggested post: SafeLand Hearing Protection Training
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