A GUIDE TO HEARING PROTECTION
As sound enters the outer ear, it is channeled down the ear canal until it reaches the ear drum. The ear drum, a thin membrane stretched over a tube, is moved by the sound waves. When the sound vibrations reach the coiled, liquid-filled tube called the cochlea, thousands of hair cells in the cochlea translate these vibrations into electrical impulses that are transmitted to the brain for interpretation. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can permanently damage the tiny hairs called cilia. Once the cilia are damaged, they never grow back.
Continual, unprotected exposure to noises louder than 85 decibels (dB) for 8 hours or more can be dangerous, and may result in hearing loss. Permanent damage by sounds reaching over 100dB or more, can occur in 2 hours or less. If you are exposed to loud and continuous sound for more than 15 minutes per day at 100 to 110 dB, you need to wear hearing protection.
Even brief exposure to gun blasts or jet engine noise can cause pain and permanent injury if your ears are not protected.
Hearing loss is cumulative and once lost, can never be regained. The best way to protect your hearing is to create a habit of wearing comfortable hearing protection. Several types of ear plugs, bands or ear muffs are created by Howard Leight Industries with two major features:
Superior performance (measured as high Noise Reduction Ratings, or NRR) and most importantly, comfort for the wearer.
HOW DO WE GO ABOUT PROTECTING OUR HEARING?
Here are some recommendations for hearing protection, whether you are a worker, safety director, purchaser, or just someone who knows it is necessary.
Following these simple guidelines, you can save your hearing from further hazardous exposure and potential hearing loss.