Every year, roughly 30 million people in the Unites States are exposed to hazardous noise at work, according to OSHA. High levels of noise can result in permanent hearing loss for workers. Loud noises can create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, and contribute to workplace incidents and injuries caused by difficulty in hearing warning signals, OSHA notes. However, noise exposure for workers can be lessened or eliminated. Research indicates that workplaces with proper hearing conservation programs have higher levels of worker productivity and lower incidence of absenteeism. EH&S conducts noise monitoring and recommends improvements, such as personal protective equipment or enegineering or adminstrative controls, where noise levels have the potential to exceed regulatory thresholds.
Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects, it usually develops over a long period of time, and, except in very rare cases, there is no pain. What does occur is a progressive loss of communication, socialization, and responsiveness to the environment.
The following are links which provide additional information about hearing loss and hearing conservation.
Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health webpage, includes links to information on hearing loss prevention and workplace solutions.
"Limiting Exposure to Hazardous Noise," National Safety Council (NSC) (January 2014), assists employers and supervisors in understanding the hazards of noise and making decisions that will help prevent noise-induced hearing loss among their employees.
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