Preventing Hearing Loss
One in ten Americans has a type of hearing loss that affects his or her ability to understand normal speech. Excessive noise exposure on the job is the most common cause of hearing loss. Some workers with long-term hearing loss have developed ways of adapting to the gradual onset of the disease, but the chronic effects of noise are real and can be devastating. The important thing is that regardless of your present level of hearing loss, it is never too late or too hard to prevent further damage. Workers who already have serious hearing loss have an even greater reason for saving the hearing they have left.
Further hearing damage can be prevented by taking some simple precautions such as using proper hearing protection. Make sure that your hearing protection is appropriate and adequate for the task being performed, as well as comfortable.
Some examples of different types of hearing protection are:
- Ear plugs, which are inserted to block the ear canal. They may be pre-molded (preformed) or moldable (foam ear plugs). Ear plugs are sold as disposable products or reusable plugs. Custom molded ear plugs are also available.
- Semi-insert ear plugs, which consist of two ear plugs, held over the ends of the ear canal by a rigid headband.
- Ear muffs, which consist of sound-attenuating material and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear, with hard outer cups. They are held together by a headband.