Entries tagged with “hearing loss”.

As you might be aware, there is a loudness of noise which your ears cannot be protected against. Your body’s system of preventing the sound waves from entering your ear are just too much for it to handle. As the noise (sound pressure) hits your inner ear the bones convert the physical energy (noise) into a chemical & neurological process so you are able to hear. Ear plugs and ear muffs are not sufficient enough to protect against the amount of noise exposure.

However! Sometime in the future we might have a pill to prevent this type of hearing loss.

Researchers have found that the chemicals, D-methionine, ebselen & N-acetylcysteine, battle chemical stress on your ears.  We are still a long way from being able to take a pill to avoid hearing loss. They must go through more testing and the FDA approvals.

But, isn’t that cool!?

As I have said in an earlier post, some OSHA, EPA, and MSHA rules are a good fit. They blend well with health research, scientific technology, good practices, and a low-cost-of-compliance for employers. Other rules are just bad. They are  totally out of date, not protective enough, or just not feasible/practical. Here’s my plug for a good safety manager/industrial hygienist – A good one will know which rules/guidelines to follow.

The New York Times (July 19, 2012, Cara Buckley) recently wrote an article on the US noise standards which are not protective enough for employees. In construction we also have three additional problems.

  1. hearing loss is expected (or at least assumed in certain fields – carpenters, sheetmetal, ironworkers, etc.) and,
  2. work shifts are usually over 8-hours. Noise exposure is usually calculated on an 8-hour time weighted average. During the busy months, an 8-hour work day is rare. It’s at least 10, maybe 12-14 hours. This doesn’t allow your ears to “rest” between shifts. For more information on extended work shifts go here.
  3. extracurricular activities contribute to overall hearing loss – my point is that most construction workers don’t sit at home at the end of their shift. Almost everyone I know in construction is involved in one of these activities: hunting, shooting, motorcycles, water sports, yard work, cars, wood working/cutting, concerts, music, etc. Each of these activities contribute to their overall hearing loss, and again, doesn’t allow your ears to “rest”.

…which reminds me that I need to keep a set of ear plugs in my motorcycle jacket.