5 Ways to Help Protect Your Hearing
Noise-induced hearing loss is a not-so-quiet threat to millions of people
March 2, 2017
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 5 percent of the world's population suffers from disabling hearing loss.
It can be the result of work or play: Hearing loss is the most common, permanent work-related injury and recreational exposure to damaging noise such as operating power equipment or listening to loud music is a rapidly growing contributor.
Despite mounting awareness about the dangers of excessive noise and stricter governmental regulations on hearing protection in the workplace, the estimated number of Americans suffering the effects of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) doubled between 2000 and 2015.
What can we do about this epidemic?
“The most important things to consider about loud noise are‚'how loud' is it and 'how long' we can listen to it - both factors could affect hearing,” said Brad Witt an audiologist with Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solution's hearing protection business. “Attending a rock concert, shooting a firearm or operating a chain saw could all cause permanent hearing damage, under the right conditions. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect our hearing, including earplugs, earmuffs, and apps that monitor potentially dangerous noise levels.”
Here are five ways you can protect your hearing:
- Keep sound volumes down on personal audio devices and limit time spent using these devices to less than an hour at a time
- Always wear hearing protection when operating loud machinery such as power mowers, chain saws, leaf or snow-blowers.
- Use carefully fitted or noise-cancelling earphones or headphones when flying
- Take listening breaks after 15 minutes of noise exposure in loud venues such as concert halls
- Take advantage of new smart phone apps that monitor safe listening levels
For more tips on hearing health, read a complete guide here.
To help prevent work-related hearing loss, Honeywell's latest technologies include earplug fit-testing, which automatically informs a worker or safety manager whether the hearing protection has been accurately fitted. Wrongly fitted earplugs are a common problem for commercial-industrial workers. For workers in noisy environments, intelligent hearing aids monitor sound exposure continuously and adjust in-ear volume to safer levels so the worker can communicate clearly.
Honeywell offers a free online hearing conservation toolbox app for iPads, connecting safety managers with a resource of interactive tools and educational materials to use in support of workplace hearing safety programs.