Personal Protective Equipment

Show Workers What They’re Risking If They Don’t Wear Their Hearing Protection

NIOSH has developed a Hearing Loss Simulator that can help your employees understand the impact of workplace noise.

Hearing loss is a big problem in many workplaces. Noisy equipment and processes can damage sensitive structures in the ear. Hearing loss usually takes place over time, and once the damage is done, it’s irreversible.

Hearing aids can help, but the physical damage to the ear cannot be repaired—at least not yet. Maybe some day. In the meantime, we have to rely on PPE to protect employees’ hearing.

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 22 million workers are exposed on the job to noise levels that could harm their hearing. Workers are affected in industry sectors such as manufacturing, construction, mining, transportation, agriculture, and the military.

NIOSH cites these key facts about hearing loss:

  • 1 in 4 people exposed to excessive noise or other toxicants while on the job will develop permanent hearing loss.
  • Approximately 11.4% (13.9 million)
  • Hearing loss may impede some individuals’ ability to be gainfully employed.
  • Hearing loss is not inevitable and can be prevented.

If you have a noise problem in your workplace, OSHA requires you to provide appropriate hearing protection and to develop a hearing conservation program.


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Try NIOSH’s Hearing Loss Simulator

To help employees understand the impact of noise in the workplace and the importance of using hearing protection, NIOSH has developed a Hearing Loss Simulator.

The Simulator is a software training and communication tool that demonstrates the effects of noise exposure on a worker’s hearing without exposing the person to harmful noise levels or toxic materials. The software considers several factors including age, gender, level of exposure, and years of exposure, and then simulates human speech that is degraded to reflect the estimated hearing loss.

Human speech is considered the most complex and important sound most workers need to perceive, so the Simulator allows the user to combine speech with common background noises to demonstrate hearing loss.

Employees choose either a male or female voice to demonstrate different sound frequencies and can choose from a variety of background noises, including recorded worksite sounds.

Workers can record and upload their own custom foreground and background noises, and they also have the ability to control the speech-to-background noise ratio to illustrate how increasing background noise interferes with understanding speech that is present in the foreground.

In addition, users can manipulate sound and frequency levels allowing results of an actual hearing test to be entered into the software.

NIOSH says that the real-life scenarios of this software have the potential to raise awareness, increase motivation for hearing loss prevention, and reduce the number of workers who suffer from hearing loss.

You can download the NIOSH Hearing Loss Simulator free at www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/products/product47.htm.


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E-Z Training at a Phenomenal Price

To help train employees in a broad range of safety and health topics, including hearing protection, savvy safety professionals have for years relied on the BLR® 7-Minute Safety Trainer. This essential training resource allows you to provide concise, memorable training easily and effectively in just a few minutes. Materials are ready-to-use, and each session supplies a detailed trainer’s outline as well as a handout, quiz, and quiz answers to get your points across quickly—and cost-effectively.

All told, this “trainer’s bible” contains 50 prewritten meetings covering almost every aspect of safety you’d want or need to train on, in a format designed to be taught in as little as 7 minutes. Major topics include:

—Confined spaces
—Electrical safety
—Fire safety and emergency response
—HazCom
—Machine guarding and lockout/tagout
—Material handling
—PPE use and care
—Housekeeping/slips, trips, and falls
—and dozens more

Just make as many copies as you need of the included handouts and quizzes, and you’re ready to train.

Equally important is that the program ships new meetings every quarter to respond to new and changed regulations. This service is included in the program price, which averages just over $1 a working day. In fact, this is one of BLR’s most popular safety programs.

If you’d like to personally evaluate 7-Minute Safety Trainer and see how it can build safety awareness, we’ll be happy to send it to you for 30 days on a no-cost, no-obligation trial basis. Just let us know, and we’ll arrange it.

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