Why Hearing Protection is Important

Hearing protection is one of the most important, and often overlooked, safety tools in any facility. OSHA reports that about 30 million people in the United States are exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels in the workplace each year. When people who are working in these environments don’t wear proper hearing protection, they risk experiencing hearing loss or other long term hearing problems. This is why it is so important for all facilities to not only provide the proper hearing protection equipment with the correct Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) to those entering the facility, but also to ensure everyone knows how to use it properly.

While those working in or around extremely loud machinery often recognize that hearing protection is important, there are millions of others who work with loud machinery that can cause damage over time. It is essential for companies to require hearing protection in any situation where hearing damage could occur. The following are a few of the side effects of failing to use proper hearing protection:

Psychological Stress & Irritability

Exposure to loud noises for extended periods of time has been shown to cause people to become irritated more quickly and easily. This can also lead to higher levels of stress in the work place. The loud noises can cause a more hostile workplace, opening the facility up to a wide range of different risks. Proper hearing protection, however, can prevent the psychological stress and added irritability. This will not only help improve the safety of the facility, but also keep employees from becoming disgruntled with their jobs.

Poor Concentration and Communication

People who are exposed to loud noises for long periods of time often experience difficulty concentrating and communicating with others. This causes common tasks to become more difficult, which can make any job much more dangerous. With proper hearing protection, however, the negative effects on concentration and communication are eliminated, allowing everyone to work much more efficiently.

Headaches

Most people who are exposed to loud noises for long periods of time will be much more likely to get a headache. Depending on the individual, the headaches can range from a minor annoyance to a debilitating condition resulting in them having to miss work. Even for those experiencing less severe cases, it will result in a less productive workday. Something as simple as earplugs can reduce the noise levels significantly, preventing painful headaches.

Increased Risk of Accidents

Each of the above problems, combined with the fact that in loud environments it is often difficult to distinguish the normal noises from alarms or an individual shouting a warning, means the workplace will have a significantly increased risk of accidents. Using proper hearing protection allows each individual in the area to be able to maintain their concentration and remain focused on the work they need to be performing. The fact that the other symptoms of working without hearing protection such as psychological stress, poor concentration and headaches are reduced or eliminated also allows everyone to remain much more alert to potential dangers.

Ensuring everyone in a facility is using proper hearing protection is a simple task, and is typically quite inexpensive. Especially when compared with the significant dangers which are present when people are constantly exposed to dangerous noise levels.

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