I know, the title is wrong.  It should read:  “How to prevent hearing loss“.

Here’s the problem (IMO).  I think most people know how to prevent hearing loss- and in America we can all afford to buy ear plugs. I have also heard of hearing loss claims that are unfounded and totally unrelated to their current work activity.  Even just a one time loud event can cause permanent hearing loss.

Construction companies hand out ear plugs like candy and say, “wear them when it’s loud”. Then, these same construction workers go home buck-up a cord of wood, ride their motorcycle, shoot their gun, and then after dinner go to a rock concert.

So, to avoid a claim, here is my advice:

  1. Measure the noise (by dosimetry) at your job site- and do it annually.
  2. Start a “hearing conservation program” or, in the simplest words, have your employees’ hearing checked annually.
  3. Educate (train) your employees in hearing conservation
  4. Give them choices in hearing protection (different brands of plugs, muffs, etc.).
  5. Manage their hearing- (see below)

If you notice a loss in their hearing- do something! To manage possible hearing loss, I suggest these additional steps:

  1. Retest their hearing. On a Monday, before work.  (To avoid a possible temporary threshold shift)
  2. Have another company test their hearing. (sometimes the equipment is out of calibration)
  3. Remind your manager to enforce the employee’s use of ear plugs on the job site.
  4. Offer to give them ear plugs to take home.
  5. Have an Industrial Hygienist (IH) perform noise monitoring at the job site for the full shift (dosimetry).
  6. Retest their hearing again a month or two later.
  7. Have an audiologist review their audiogram & your noise sampling data and ask for an opinion.