Hearing protection is extremely important in noisy workplaces or where there is exposure to potentially damaging noises. From age to illness, there are many things that can affect our hearing throughout life, but work should never be one of them. Workplace hearing loss is 100% preventable, aiding your workforce in avoiding damage that will affect them and their families permanently for years to come is extremely important. At Greenham, we offer personalised attenuation testing, designed to protect your employees, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
What is Hearing Protection?
Hearing protection refers to devices or methods used to reduce the exposure to loud or excessive noise levels that can cause hearing damage. Examples of hearing protection include earplugs, earmuffs, and noise-cancelling headphones. The type and level of protection will depend on the environment and activity, as well as the individual’s needs. It is important to use hearing protection in situations where noise levels are high, such as construction sites. Long-term exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and other health problems. The level at which employers must provide hearing protection to their employees is anything above 85 dB.
Hearing issues are on the rise across the UK, with over 17,000 people each year developing ear conditions caused by excessive noise in their workplace. Daily noise pollution is very dangerous. But with a little help from us, you can keep your workers’ hearing safe and clear. At Greenham we offer an attenuation testing service which allows you to visualise, analyse, report and share data – to protect your employees, improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Attenuation testing is a method used to determine the effectiveness of hearing protection devices. The test measures the amount of sound reduction (attenuation) provided by the device when worn as directed. The attenuation is measured in decibels (dB) and is used to determine the SNR, which is a single-number rating of the device’s noise reduction capabilities.
Our Attenuation Testing offers state-of-the-art protection, using the sophisticated VeriShield™ Smart Hearing Solution to show you what your employees are hearing. It continuously collects noise exposure data from your employees’ hearing protection equipment and then integrates it into a unified platform for viewing.
One of the possible effects of being exposed to loud noise without the correct protection is the development of Tinnitus. This is when there is the perception of sound in the absence of an external source. It is often described as ringing, buzzing, or whistling in the ears. Tinnitus can be a symptom of an underlying condition but can also be due to exposure to loud noise and head or neck injuries. Tinnitus can be temporary or chronic and can range from being a minor annoyance to severely impacting a person’s quality of life.
There is currently no cure for tinnitus Treatment options for tinnitus include sound therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and masking devices. Therefore, it is really important to make sure you take preventative measures before the damage has been made.
Steps to Protecting Hearing
Hearing issues are one of the most avoidable hazards at work. As a result, we advise employers to:
- Identify and assess all workplace risks, both inside and outside
- Speak to your company’s Health and Safety Officer
- Test your employee’s hearing to ensure they have the right protection.
- Give employees the hearing protection they need, free of charge.
- Track employees regularly to make sure they’re using their ear protection.
Some of the most important things to remember about hearing protection.
- Hearing protection is a last resort but must be used until noise risks are under control.
- Choose the correct level of protection. This will not usually be the highest available.
- Make sure it is suitable for the user and their work activities, and that they can use it comfortably with any other PPE or equipment they must wear or use.
- Ensure they wear it at all times in the noisy area. If they remove it, even briefly, they will have wasted most of the time they have spent wearing it. For example, removing protection for just 5 minutes out of one hour will reduce the protection achieved by more than half.
Contact your local Service Centre for more information on attenuation testing and hearing protection.