Whenever possible and appropriate you should look at going on the offense when it comes to the preservation of your hearing. It’s all too often that we as a culture constantly surround ourselves with machines or equipment that release decibels at too high of a level for the average human ear. Basic hearing protection has been around for years, yet it’s extremely underused as it’s usually viewed as a detriment. Overall ear safety is vital, because of how much it can impact our lives if the proper protocols aren’t taken into consideration. Even just one mishap on the job or while we’re having some weekend fun can cost us severely for the remainder of our lives. Hearing is one of the major ways we as humans can interact with our world everyday. Whether we’re listening to music, talking to our children, out at a concert, or on the job, how we listen is ultimately how we can communicate properly. The following will explain what sound is and how it can affect our hearing as well as steps that we can take to hopefully preserve the hearing that you do have for as long as possible.
What is Sound?
Sound is actually measured via pressure in the air and how our ear interprets it. The units are most commonly known as decibels. These decibels are measured by a specific tool called a logarithmic scale. Even the tiniest and miniscule change on this scale has us in turn interpret the sound significantly louder. This is why being cognizant of what is around you is extremely important to the overall health of your hearing. Depending on the damage, it may never come back 100%.
Reducing Noise “Exhaust”
The easiest way to avoid any type of noise related issue is to look at how you can reduce the noise they let off. First and foremost, if the machinery or equipment that you’re around is excessively loud due to its age, then maybe it’s time to see if an upgrade is available or to get rid of it entirely. There’s no point in putting effort into reducing the sound a piece of machinery releases if it’s on its way out anyways. Overall maintenance of your gear is critical. If it’s too loud because something is rattling, maybe it’s time to see if certain pieces of the equipment can be tightened down and fixed. If there’s an ability to put barriers in place to reduce noise, than do so for hearing longevity.
If you’re in a leadership role, it’s your job to look out for your employees. A few different examples would be to run dangerously loud equipment during off hours or at least hours when a large amount of the employees aren’t there. If your workers a spending a large majority of their time at these pieces of machinery, try to limit their exposure when you can. If your workspace allows it, look to see if you can dedicate a room that’s possibly soundproof where workers can go to relax. Overall, just being more observant as to the overall health of your employees can assist you that much further in the long run.
Ear Damage can occur to anyone if the proper protocols aren’t abided by. The easiest and most important is to simply implement some form of hearing protection. They come in all shapes and sizes and are offered in many price points. Ear plugs are the most inexpensive and the easiest to travel with because you can just throw them in your pocket. Traditional ear muffs are good for those who aren’t comfortable with placing something in their ear canals. Both the plugs and the muffs are offered in electronic versions at a higher price point, yet offer the option to automatically cancel out any dangerous decibels.The biggest factor with any of this is to actually have these on you to wear when needed. You can go out and buy all the hearing protection you want, but if you don’t have it on you whether at the concert or at the job site it’s all null and void.
Putting it all Together
Whether you’re in a leadership role or not, your hearing is your responsibility. Regardless of what you do in your off time or what your work situation is like, having hearing protection nearby to use is always a good idea. Think proactively instead reactively. If you have even the slightest inclination that your hearing may be damaged, than either try to leave the area or have the protection at the ready. Others may look at you funny or think that wearing hearing protection is unnecessary, but when it’s all said and done it’s your hearing not theirs. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.