Occupational Noise Exposure & Hearing Loss
There are many ways in which hearing loss can occur – from loud noise exposure to issues with your middle or outer ear. As hearing loss can happen due to a number of causes, it is not surprising that there are around 30 million people aged 12 or older who have bilateral hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
While some causes of hearing loss are uncontrollable, occupational-induced hearing loss is not one of those cases. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are an estimated 22 million employees who are potentially exposed to damaging noise levels every year.
If you own or manage a facility with noisy equipment, chances are you need to have a hearing conservation program that complies with OSHA standards. The Hearing Clinic is here to help your company maintain OSHA compliance as it applies to hearing conservation.
Workplace Noise Levels And OSHA
Hearing loss due to noise exposure can start when decibel (dB) levels reach 80-85 dB. To give some perspective, breathing measures around 10 dB, most conversations occur around 60 dB, a vacuum cleaner is about 80 dB, and a gas lawn mower is about 110 dB.
So, in workplaces where construction, manufacturing, and other industrial tasks are done, exposure to high decibel levels is both expected and needs to be taken into account to protect workers.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends the occupational workplace noise exposure level not go above 85 dB for longer than 8 hours. However, OSHA has set the legal noise exposure level to be 90 dB for 8 hours a day. Noise in excess needs to be addressed by the employer.
If your workplace is in need of help with OSHA hearing conservation compliance, The Hearing Clinic is here to help.
Benefits Of Working With The Hearing Clinic On Hearing Conservation
There are a number of clear benefits to choosing to work with The Hearing Clinic to address your hearing conservation OSHA requirements. Below are the top benefits our other clients have enjoyed.
Develop Hearing Compliance Plan
In the Denver area and surrounding communities, some of the main industries that will need a hearing conservation plan that is OSHA-compliant are industrial facilities or a manufacturing plant. This conservation plan can include engineering changes to reduce noise levels, issuing hearing protection to your employees, or simply having their hearing evaluated annually.
Whatever your conservation needs, The Hearing Clinic can help you put together an easy and efficient plan for compliance at the lowest possible cost.
On-Site Or Nearby Diagnostic Hearing Tests
Designated employee health services often have mobile hearing testing trailers that they can bring to your worksites. However, such a setup is very expensive, and the costs inevitably get passed on to you.
To keep your OSHA compliance costs low, our audiologist – Dr. Gardner – uses a small quiet room somewhere in your facility and brings his diagnostic hearing test equipment from the office to assess your employees’ hearing. Not having an expensive trailer or a separate set of mobile diagnostic equipment means that the per-employee cost is often half what you would pay from most on-site test firms.
Custom Hearing Protection
Custom hearing protection lasts longer than off-the-shelf hearing protection, as it is made with superior materials and attention to details. Another thing is if your employees have custom hearing protection, they will often find that it is more comfortable and, therefore, more likely to be worn. Also, if you opt for custom hearing protection, you can find that it provides better hearing protection than many of the disposable foam options.
Custom earplugs are also available with selective filters that do not block sound until noise reaches dangerous levels. With non-damaging sound levels permeable, it allows employees to have a conversation when the machines are idle. That way, your employees won’t be tempted to leave hearing protection off so that they can communicate.
Better hearing protection means less noise damage, which in turn means lower treatment and insurance costs for the employer. When custom hearing protection is ordered in bulk, a significant discount is also usually available for employers who want to switch to custom protection for their whole team at once. If this option is appealing, The Hearing Clinic can help you with your custom hearing protection needs.
Referrals To Other Professionals
Depending on your company’s industry, you may need to take further steps than what The Hearing Clinic can provide to ensure your business stays compliant with OSHA regulations. However, we can still assist you in finding the professionals you need.
If you need to have an acoustic engineer evaluate your setup and give you suggestions about reducing noise levels, we have a good relationship with several engineers, and we would be more than happy to make a referral.
The Hearing Clinic Can Help With Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Many employers who provide their employees with annual hearing testing also cover hearing aids as part of their health insurance package. What many employers are unaware of is the cost of such insurance premiums as compared to the cost of hearing aids.
For many companies, it is considerably less expensive to provide good hearing protection and pay out-of-pocket for the hearing aids of any employees that need them. Especially when compared to paying monthly premiums for hearing aid coverage for every employee on the books.
At The Hearing Clinic, we partner with local manufacturers to provide a substantial discount on the retail cost of hearing aids, which the employer can then purchase for those employees that end up needing them due to noise exposure. Hearing aids for the small percentage of employees that will suffer noise damage working for you is often much cheaper than increased insurance premiums for everyone.
If you would like to work with The Hearing Clinic, whether you need annual employee hearing tests or need hearing aids for employees, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to discuss your company’s and employee’s hearing needs, and we will do our best to help you maintain a safe workplace.