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The Challenges of Hearing Protection

By February 1, 20223M, All Whitepapers, Whitepaper
Hearing protection-featured image

40 million workers are exposed to loud noise and 13 million suffer from hearing disorders despite industry regulations*. You can advance your hearing conservation program with a customized and comprehensive approach to the hearing protection challenge. Implementing a solution that really makes a difference begins with understanding the hazards, the regulation, and the factors that impact protection.

*Source:  European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

According to Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, a Hearing Conservation Programme (HCP) is a programme that is implemented at a workplace to:

  • Minimise the risk associated with workplace noise exposure.
  • Prevent Noise Induced Deafness (NID).

The 5 key elements of HCP are:

  • Noise monitoring
  • Noise control
  • Provision of hearing protectors and display of warning signs
  • Training for workers
  • Audiometric examinations

Companies with excessive noise exposure should implement HCP to minimise noise exposure and prevent noise induced deafness.

The #1 Reported Occupational Health Issue: data from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work shows that noise-induced hearing loss is the most commonly reported occupational medical condition in the EU. One-Third of European Employees Potentially at Risk: according to the EU OSHA one-third of workers in Europe are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise.

hearing protection- challenges

The regulation

The Physical Agents (Noise) Directive 2003/10/EC states that suitable hearing protection devices be made available at the Lower Exposure Action Value and information on the harmful effects of noise provided to the worker. At Upper Exposure Action value suitable hearing protectors must be worn in areas where there is a risk of noise-induced hearing damage and entry to such area should be strictly controlled. In addition, a hearing conservation program be initiated which may include general health surveillance and audiometric checks. The Limit Value is the absolute ceiling limit that must not be exceeded at any time and can be achieved by using appropriate hearing protectors.

hearing protection regulation

The real-world concerns of hearing protection

  • Variable Noise Levels: Every environment is different and workers can face a wide range of sound levels throughout the day and in different areas at the same facility. 
  • The Human Factor: Each person has a different shape, size and anatomy of the ear canal, so there is no one-size fits all hearing protection solution. The key to achieving optimal protection is having the best fit possible. 
  • Employee Communication: Where there is an essential need for workers to communicate or hear warning sounds it is vital that their hearing is protected from hazardous noise levels.

What types of sounds require hearing protection?

At home and work, it’s important to understand which sounds may cause hearing loss and require hearing protection:

types of sound

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