Ears are one of the most important things to protect in a loud workplace. Being in an environment with noisy machinery can cause hearing problems and long-term damage, especially when an employee is there for 8 hours a day. Learning the right ways to protect your employees’ ears will decrease their chances of having occupational hearing loss.
Which Protector to Choose
When it comes to finding the right protector for ears, it is important to find what fits your employees the best. Each person and ear is different, so finding the perfect fit is crucial. There are many styles and designs to pick from, but the best one is the one that you find comfortable and convenient.
Expandable Foam Plugs
These are made from a flexible foam material designed to fit any ear shape or size. The plug will expand and conform to whatever canal it is in. Simply roll the earplug into a thin cylinder, place it in the ear canal and then release it in the ear.
These earplugs are typically made from a silicone material. Usually, they are ‘one size fits most’ products, or offered in 3 standard sizes. One thing to be careful of with this option is the possibility of needing a different size for each ear. A nice thing about the pre-molded plugs is that they are reusable and easily washed.
This ear protection option comes in many different styles. Different from the foam and pre-molded plugs, earmuffs cover the entire ear from the outside. They completely block out surrounding noises. The earmuff design options are also endless. You can get different cup sizes to fit around ears, or even ones with electronic features to communicate with others.
Control the Noise
When it comes to a workplace with constant machines and loud noises, controlling those sounds is critical to a safe environment. According to the CDC, they estimate “that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year”. Small things such as lubricating the machines, enclosing the noise, or providing noise-free areas for the employees are easy precautions to help limit that number. The NIOSH also provides a list of eight steps to help prevent hearing loss. This list can provide helpful tips to keep yourself healthy in a damaging workplace.