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Work Related Hearing Loss & how to Prevent it?

Noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Extended and repeated exposure to high levels of noise can over a period of time present serious risk to your hearing. Thousands of Irish workers suffer irreversible hearing damage after exposure to dangerous levels of noise each day. Damage to your hearing can be gradual, but is entirely preventable. Excessive noise exposure can result in: • Permanent Hearing Damage • Sensorineural Hearing Loss and • Tinnitus (ringing of the ears)   Which workers are at risk? Of the thousands of workers affected by hearing loss it is estimated that one in four cases are caused by work related exposure. These exposures include loud noise and chemicals causing damage to the inner ear (ototoxic chemicals). Ototoxic chemicals include organic solvents like trichloroethylene, heavy metals like mercury and lead, and asphyxiants like carbon monoxide. Noise is considered loud and potentially harmful (hazardous) when it reaches 85 decibels or higher, or if a person has to raise his/her voice to speak with someone 3 feet away (arm’s length). The risk of hearing loss is especially high amongst factory and heavy industry workers, military personnel, construction workers, farmers, miners, transportation workers, firefighters, police officers, entertainment industry professionals and musicians. How to Prevent Hearing Loss?   Find out if the noise in your workspace is hazardous. There are numerous apps for both android and iPhone that can be used to measure the noise levels in your workplace. Try the dB Volume Meter, created for iPhone, which offers a way to measure audio volume in the environment around you (Those operating heavy machinery, explosive devices, or exposing themselves to known decibel levels over 90 dB should rely on a professional SPL meter.). Alternatively for android try deciBel, this sound level meter is a simple tool that uses the smart phone’s microphone to measure Sound Pressure Level (SPL).     Reduce your noise exposure. Reduce noise at the source of the noise. Update equipment where possible and make sure to keep equipment well maintained and lubricated. Increase the distance between you and the source of the noise or place a barrier between you and the source. Reduce the length of time you spend in noisy areas. Always wear hearing protection in noisy areas, and if using foam plugs, insert them correctly. Reduce or stop exposure to chemicals that may damage your hearing: If you are exposed to chemicals always wear gloves, long sleeves and eye protection. Wear a respirator or other protective equipment, as appropriate. Read and follow all chemical safety instructions.   For more information on hearing protection please contact or Phone 353 1 6301800