Did you know that millions of workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise every year? Employers are responsible for providing hearing protection for workers to safeguard their ears from hearing loss. Hearing protection has evolved over the years, with many innovations in hearing protection technology. There are a number of industrial noise control strategies to consider to ensure the safety and ear protection of everyone in your workplace. In this article, we will discuss the latest innovations in hearing protection technology. Implementing effective hearing protection in your workplace can reduce accidents, injuries, and keep your employees safe from long-term hearing damage. 

The Importance of Hearing Protection in the Workplace

Workplace noise control is important for hearing health. That’s why hearing protection is of extreme importance in industrial settings, including construction and manufacturing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 46% of all workers in manufacturing have been exposed to hazardous noise. And 28% of noise-exposed manufacturing workers report not wearing hearing protection. 

Loud noises are one of the biggest workplace hazards. Hearing loss can happen from a single loud sound near the ear, and repeated exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and even hearing loss. 

There are other negative effects of loud noise, including reduced productivity, increased physical and psychological stress, interference with concentration and communication (which can lead to other safety issues, including accidents and injuries if workers are unable to hear warning signals, beeping, and alarms). Yes, loud noise is a common cause of industrial accidents! 

What are OSHA Hearing Protection Regulations?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has created standards for occupational noise exposure, hearing protection, and workplace safety. OSHA requires that employers make hearing protection devices (or HPDs) available to all employees exposed to an eight-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels or greater – at no cost to employees. It is very important to ensure that your workplace adheres to OSHA’s regulations regarding hearing protection or risk OSHA violations.

Ear Protection in the Workplace

There are three types of personal protective equipment (or PPE) that meet OSHA hearing protection requirements: ear plugs, ear muffs, and ear canal caps. Ear plugs and ear muffs can reduce decibel exposure and offer a level of protection against hearing loss.

Ear Plugs

Ear plugs offer the best protection for workers, assuming they are inserted correctly. It is important to train workers to wear them correctly.

Ear Muffs 

Ear muffs can also reduce decibel exposure, but not to the extent that ear plugs can. However, many workers prefer ear muffs because they are easier to wear correctly than ear plugs. 

Ear Canal Caps 

Ear canal caps are not designed to be inserted fully into the ear. Instead, they stay in place just over the ear canal by a rigid headband connected to the earplugs. They are not custom-made and do not always work for everyone. Ear canal caps also do not offer as much hearing protection as other types of hearing PPE. However, if a worker takes their hearing protection on and off on a regular basis, then ear canal caps can be useful.

While ear plugs, ear muffs, and ear canal caps are some of the original forms of ear protection, because they must fit correctly to work, they often fail. That is where the latest innovations in hearing protection technology come into play to help employers safeguard their workers against excessive noise.

History of Ear Protection

Earplugs have been around for a long time. The original earplugs were patented in 1884! In 1965, Singer Safety Company developed the original industrial noise partition, offering an effective solution to the problems associated with excessive industrial noise. Our noise control systems are still recognized as industry leaders. 

Hearing Protection That Goes Beyond Just Safety Earplugs

Did you know that hearing protection devices, or HPDs, can frequently fail to protect workers from loud noise and hearing loss because they don’t fit correctly? While safety earplugs and earmuffs have been a common form of hearing protection, improvements in technology have led to more effective protection solutions. It is important to not rely on PPE alone in order to protect workers’ ears. 

As an employer, there are many steps you can take to reduce worker noise exposure. 

Other Noise Control and Hearing Protection Options

While wearing earplugs and earmuffs in the workplace is helpful, there are other forms of noise control systems available, including:

  • Modular Acoustic Screens
  • Ceiling Baffles
  • Quilted Fiberglass Panels 
  • Acoustic Foams
  • Do-It-Yourself Materials

Many types of businesses and facilities need noise control systems – from food processing plants to animal shelters to restaurants. 

Educate Your Workers About Hearing Protection

As an employer, it is important to train your employees to care about their hearing and to use their hearing protection correctly.

Get the Latest Hearing Protection From Singer Safety Company

In order to provide the safest environment for your employees, employers should implement both PPE and noise control systems. Singer Safety Company has a variety of noise control systems and products available including industrial welding curtains, noise control systems, modular acoustic screens, DIY noise control materials, single faced quilted fiberglass panels, roller partition systems, vinyl strip doors, industrial curtains, vinyl strip door kits, vinyl, PVC, and plastic strip rolls, and more. Come to Singer Safety for all of your noise control and hearing protection needs.