There are many people in the United States and throughout the world who have jobs that put constant strain on their hearing. These noisy working environments can damage small cells in our ears called hair cells which are sensors that retain sound and send that message or signal to our brain. When these hair cells are damaged, they do not grow back like the hair on our head. Therefore, they need to be protected!
There are sounds that our ears are exposed to everyday or on a frequent basis that are perfectly fine and non damaging to our ears, such as listening to the radio, talking on the phone, or watching television! They are all fine, because they are measured as average on a hearing scale. Hearing is measured in decibels, so for example a normal decibel when you have a conversation with someone is at 60 decibels, where as busy traffic in a city can reach up to 85 decibels. Any sound that is measured at 85 decibels and above can damage your hearing if listened to repeatedly enough. This explains how those whose jobs put them at constant damaging levels of sound need to be protected with a hearing conservation program.
Check out our OSHA Hearing Conservation Cheat Sheet
Those of you reading this blog today have most likely taking an audiogram at some point during your life. Let me refresh your memory, an audiogram is when you are placed in a room and you have those headphones on your ears, and a little clicker in one of your hands. Whenever you hear a sound on one side of the headphone you either click the button or raise your hand. This is an audiogram, and it is used to measure the frequency at which you can hear. It is as simple as that.
Conservation program standards are regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration.) These programs are put in place in order to protect workers who work in hazardous noise environments. It might seem easy to brush off the topic of hearing loss and damage but the Center of Disease Control and Prevention states, “four million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.” Due to this statistic, employee health is vital and occupational health and safety needed to step in.
There are two Conservation Programs for those who work in environments with sound at 85 decibels or higher…
1. Baseline and Annual Audiograms
2 Proper Hearing Protection Administered
One of the most important assets to life is health, without it, life is pretty hard to live. So we hope that this information helped you understand how occupational health services have your back in all aspects of health and the work place. So thank you for hearing us out, and learning what more you can do to keep yourself healthy and safe!