Say What? It's National Protect Your Hearing Month

Once your hearing is gone, it's gone. What are you doing at your treatment plant to protect your hearing?

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The ability to hear is something most people probably take for granted until it’s gone. October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, an important reminder to take steps to preserve your hearing.

According to the American Academy of Audiology, more than 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Over 18 million of those people are younger than 65. Noise-induced hearing loss is on the rise in the U.S. Our ears are exposed to higher levels of noise than ever before.

OSHA reports that every year about 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise. Loud noise can also create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents by making it difficult to hear alarms and warning signals.

Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, but the good news is that it’s also 100 percent preventable.

OSHA’s website outlines engineering and administrative controls that should be in place to help employees avoid exposure to levels of noise that inflict damage to their hearing.

Examples of effective but inexpensive engineering controls include:

  • Choose low-noise tools and machinery
  • Maintain and lubricate machinery and equipment (e.g., oil bearings)
  • Place a barrier between the noise source and employee (e.g., sound walls or curtains)
  • Enclose or isolate the noise source

Other controls and information on creating an effective hearing conservation program are found on OSHA’s webpage for Occupational Noise Exposure.

When you spend time around loud equipment, protecting your hearing should be an important part of your safety practices.


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