Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

When working in mining or industry there are certain health risks – hearing loss is one of them.  Read the article below to find out more about it.  Please follow the link to read the original article.

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Noise-induced hearing loss protection and Mining Safety – Mining Safety

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable.

Unlike most occupational injuries, there is no visible evidence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). It is not traumatic and often goes unnoticed when it first occurs. Noise-induced hearing loss accumulates over time, its effects realized long after the damage has been done. NIHL is permanent and irreversible. With proper education, motivation and protection, however, it is also 100% preventable.

According to the World Health Organization, noise-induced hearing loss is the most common permanent and preventable occupational illness in the world. In the European Union, NIHL is the most commonly reported occupational injury.

20% of EU workers are exposed to hazardous noise half their working time, 10% exposed full time (source: EU OSHA).

When is noise considered hazardous? Anytime you must shout at someone an arm’s length away to be heard.

While exposure to hazardous noise is common, prevention of NIHL is simple:

Consistent use of properly fitted hearing protection when exposed to hazardous noise. That is the goal of every Hearing Conservation Programme.
Noise-induced hearing loss is not solely a workplace issue. It can happen off the job, too. Many employees use power tools, attend loud rock concerts and sporting events, or participate in shooting sports.

All are opportunities for exposure to hazardous noise. Prevention is the key, on and off the job.

Indicators of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Although there are no visual signs, there are a few simple indicators of NIHL. Identification in its early stages can help prevent further damage.

Gradual Progression

NIHL rarely happens overnight. Rather, it accumulates over time with every unprotected exposure to hazardous noise, usually in both ears. This progression can be detected through healthy hearing practices, including the performance of annual audiograms on all employees in your Hearing Conservation Programme. Audiograms can identify whether your employees are experiencing a degradation in hearing, which indicates permanent damage and requires further preventative action.

High-Frequency Hearing Loss

When hearing impairment begins, the high frequencies are often lost first, which is why people with NIHL often have difficulty hearing high pitched sounds such as human voices, alarms and signals. Compared to other sounds, they will seem muffled or distorted.
With normal hearing, conversations are understandable if they are loud enough. When someone suffers from noise-induced hearing loss, simply turning up the volume does not make speech clearer. The clarity is adversely affected regardless of how loud the volume.

Common Symptoms

Those suffering from noise-induced hearing loss will experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or muffled hearing. Non-auditory effects of NIHL may include increased stress, high blood pressure, sleep problems and/or headaches.

As manufacturing, construction and other industrial endeavors are on the rise in Europe, so are the number of people exposed to harmful levels of noise in the workplace. Over 29% of all employees are exposed to hazardous levels of noise in at least one-quarter of their time in the workplace, and 11% are exposed at all times1 – and these trends are increasing.

While noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and irreversible, it is completely preventable. The new European Union Directive 2003/10/EC, aims to prevent employee exposure to harmful noise, while promoting a healthier and more productive workforce.”

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Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

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