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CLANG! SLAM! RIZZZ! VROOM!

From engines running and car doors closing to sanders whirring and air compressors humming, workplace noise comes with the territory at auto shops, and some of it can prove damaging to a mechanic’s ears and hearing health. An estimated 22 million American workers across various industries experience dangerous sound levels, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), yet excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.

Did you know?

  • Four million Americans work amid hazardous noise levels every day.
  • Occupational noise is a key culprit in hearing loss that occurs in adulthood.
  • Workers’ compensation for hearing loss disability amounts to about $242 million each year.
  • Some 34% of those exposed to workplace noise report that they skip hearing protection.
  • More than 31 million Americans ages 6 to 69 have permanent hearing damage due to noise.
  • Loud noise can destroy the inner ear’s hair cells, a crucial, irreplaceable part of healthy hearing.
  • Quality hearing protection reduces noise intensity while still allowing the sounds you want to hear.
  • Exposure to excess noise can lead to tinnitus, a common and potentially debilitating problem of buzzing, humming, or ringing in one or both ears.
  • Hearing loss due to noise exposure is cumulative and could go unnoticed until years later, but the damage may continue to occur and be irreversible.

In honor of National Protect Your Hearing Month in October, read on to learn more about the risks associated with working in an auto shop and ways to guard against noise hazards in any workplace.

How Loud Is Too Loud in an Auto Shop? Hint: Safer Levels Are Below 85 Decibels.

Some Typical Noise Hazards Decibel Level or “dBA”
Running engine 190
Air hammer on metal 112
Compressed air through nozzle 95
Disk sander 90
Car horn 110
Electric drill 102
Loaded impact wrench 102
Angle grinders Over 85
Industrial vacuum 85

 Recommended Standard According to NIOSH, workplace noise exposure “should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss.”   Length of Time Before Damage Occurs Noise-related hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, immediate or gradual. It can occur from one-time exposure to a forceful sound, such as an explosion, or result from prolonged exposure to sounds at or louder than 85 decibels. The greater the sound, the faster the damage may occur.\ Both NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offer guidance for curbing workplace noise hazards. In fact, OSHA requires selected employers to implement a hearing-conservation program “whenever worker noise exposure is equal to or greater than 85 dBA for an 8 hour exposure or in the construction industry when exposures exceed 90 dBA for an 8 hour exposure.”

Some ways to control or protect against occupational noise hazards include:

  • Engineering controls, which involve solutions such as modifying or replacing equipment, substituting less-noisy alternatives, separating the noise source from workers, or conducting noise-reducing maintenance or repairs.
  • Administrative controls, including limiting the duration of exposure to noisy equipment, providing quiet spaces for respite away from noise, and running noisy machines during less-populated shifts.
  • Effective and properly worn hearing protection such as quality earplugs, headphones, and earmuffs designed to suppress noise.

If you have a noise-related hearing loss, you can be helped. Schedule an appointment with your local audiologist, who can conduct a case history, provide a complete diagnostic hearing evaluation, and make the appropriate recommendations — which could include custom hearing protection, treatment with hearing technology, or both — based on your individual results. ——————————– title tag: How to Protect Your Hearing From Noise Hazards on the Job meta description: Noise-related hearing loss is a serious issue and one that is easily preventable. Follow these helpful tips and protect your hearing! slug: protect-hearing-noise-hazards alt text: How to keep your ears safe on the job category: hearing loss, hearing health, hearing protection

During Football Season, Local Audiologist Makes Noise About Hearing Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2017

During Football Season, Local Audiologist Makes Noise About Hearing Protection

Bartlesville, OK — This October is the American Academy of Audiology’s National Audiology Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about audiology and the importance of hearing protection. Making this topic relevant and timely to the community, Advanced Hearing Care reminds football fans (and arena-sports fans alike) that the best offense against hearing loss is a good defense.

“Your hearing is a key element to fully enjoying your time at the game. Ironically, the things we love — from cheering and jeering to the halftime performance — are all things that could hurt our hearing. The better you protect your hearing, the longer you’ll be able to experience the things you love,” says Stephanie Moore, Audiologist, of Advanced Hearing Care

Loud stadiums have become a source of pride for fans and teams across the country, but with stadium noise exceeding safe decibel (sound pressure) levels, it’s also a source of hearing loss. Cheering fans can push decibel (dB) levels well into the hundreds. At these levels, it only takes 1 to 15 minutes for the sound to damage your ears.

“Cheering while the away team is in a huddle gives football fans the opportunity to get in on the action, but football isn’t the only sport that puts fans at risk. From vuvuzelas to referee whistles and fireworks, loud noise at sporting events is something all spectators should be aware of,” says Dr. Moore. “The more awareness we raise about noise-induced hearing loss [NIHL], the more people we can help.”

NIHL is damage done to the ears by exposure to loud noise; the amount of damage is dependent upon the decibel level and the length of time you’re exposed. Repeated exposure to sound levels above 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss. Rather than not being able to hear at all, high-frequency sounds are usually the first to go, meaning you may be unable to hear s, f, sh, ch, h, or soft c sounds.

National Audiology Awareness Month encourages regular hearing checkups combined with hearing protection to preserve hearing health. The focus includes helping those living with untreated hearing loss by offering educational pieces around technological advances in hearing aids.

Press Contact:
Stephanie Moore, AuD
Advanced Hearing Care
918-333-9992
info@drstephaniemoore.com, www.drstephaniemoore.com
About Advanced Hearing Care- Advanced Hearing Care is a full-service audiology practice proud to be bringing better hearing to the people of Bartlesville for 11 years. From Bartlesville our AudigyCertified™ hearing care practice has helped thousands of patients with their hearing, tinnitus, and balance disorders — and offers state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and expert fitting of hearing technology.

Summer Sweat and Hearing Aid Moisture

Summer rains and then hot humid sweaty days can wreak havoc on your hearing aids. Often times our newer technology hearing aids have moisture proof coatings and the inside of the aids are covered in membranes to repel moisture, but they are not water proof. So we encourage our patients to use common sense. Do not wear them in the shower. Do not mow the yard with the aids on. Do not swim with them in….and so on.

But sometimes, you just need to hear. If you will be in the rain, try to wear a hat with a brim to protect the aids. If they get damp, dry them off with a towel or dry rag and lay them out over night to “air out”. We do have dry kits for sale for those patients that have excessive moisture problems. But an ounce of prevention, will keep you hearing better and more consistently.

6 Ways You Can Damage Your Hearing Without Knowing It

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common type of hearing loss, but folks aren’t always sure where their hearing loss comes from. There are some fairly obvious ways to damage your hearing, such as listening to music at excessive volumes, or firing weapons without hearing protection. Then there are situations where protecting your hearing doesn’t seem very important, but doing so might actually prevent further damage. Consider the following sneaky causes of hearing loss.

1) WORKPLACE NOISE

Although many construction and manufacturing jobs state that hearing protection should be worn at all times on the job, these warnings are not always adhered to. Those who wear hearing protection may not be wearing it at all times — it may be removed to talk with co-workers or supervisors despite close proximity to high-noise-producing machines, and depending upon how loud those machines are, damage can be caused fairly quickly. Even with hearing protection, noise damage can slowly accumulate and wear on the delicate hair cells in the inner ear.

2) OTOTOXIC MEDICATION

Ototoxic medications are drugs such as painkillers that have chemical properties that make them toxic to the sensory cells in the ear. Painkillers taken in high quantities create not only a risk for dependency but for losing hearing as well; strong pain medications first cause a ringing in the ears before beginning to have adverse effects on hearing, but the impairment often goes away after discontinued use.

3) SMOKING

Because of the impact and high profile of major diseases caused by smoking, potential hearing damage as a side effect of smoking often flies under the radar. But nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that causes blood vessels to shrink slightly, restricting blood flow to the inner ear and preventing oxygen from reaching it. Over a lifetime, this “suffocates” the ear.

4) DRIVING A CONVERTIBLE

Driving more often creates potential for developing or worsening hearing loss, thanks mostly to the sounds of the road and other passing vehicles. Some cars dampen sound, but convertibles lose that extra layer of “quiet ride” protection, leaving ears exposed to potentially dangerous noise levels around them. An October 2009 study found that driving some convertibles at speeds between 50 and 70 miles per hour exposed drivers to noise levels of 88 to 90 dB — beyond the level where damage begins to occur (85 dB).

5) PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The squeal and grind of light rails, trains, and even buses coming to a stop have the potential to cause hearing damage to daily riders of public transportation because they’re constantly exposed to noise. Rough or curved tracks prevent smooth rides, leading to more noise. And those who are waiting for their bus or train are exposed to potential traffic on a busy street, which can sometimes reach levels of 100 dB or more.

6) ATTENDING SPORTING EVENTS

Due in part to the nature of sporting events — watching athletes perform — the danger of noise is often forgotten. Many stadiums still manifest crowd noise dangerous enough to damage hearing. Seattle’s CenturyLink Field last year posted a decibel record of 137.6, enough to cause permanent damage in 30 seconds. Noise levels of 115 dBs or more — about the equivalent of a concert — are not uncommon but are safe to experience for only 15 minutes.

Call today for your custom-fit hearing protection! 918.213.4405