Listen up 2: Protecting your hearing – at work and play

Fast facts – noise-induced hearing loss

  • It’s thought that around 17,000 people in the UK suffer with noise induced hearing loss caused, or made worse, by work.
  • Employers are legally bound to take specific actions when noise levels reach 80 decibels.
  • A typical conversation occurs at 60 decibels.

Exposure to loud noise on a prolonged and repeated basis can damage your hearing. Research confirms that noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common form of hearing loss after age-related hearing loss. However, it is avoidable.

Protecting you at work

Noise is the most common occupational hazard facing people today: a surprising number of roles put you at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. DJs, professional musicians, armed forces personnel, construction, road building and production line workers are just a few of the professions at risk.

Employers are obliged to protect your hearing under the ‘Noise at work’ regulations, which protect you if you’re in a noisy job. Your employer should ensure you have hearing protection if you work in a noisy environment, such as in manufacturing or in a music venue.

Protecting you at play

Outside of work, however, it’s up to you to safeguard your hearing. There are many recreational activities that you might do that put you at risk of noise induced hearing loss, from going to music concerts, to riding a motorbike, using power tools, shooting at a rifle club, or just listening to music loudly on an MP3 player.

How loud is too loud?

  • A bulldozer idling at 85 decibels can cause damage after just 1 working day
  • An MP3 player set on loud can be over 100 decibels; at this level it can cause permanent damage after 15 mins a day
  • A gunshot at 140-190 decibels can cause immediate damage

Protect yourself

There are all sorts of ear plugs available to protect your hearing, without compromising your safety or your ability to hear speech or music. Below are just a couple of options. The Hearing Clinic works with a number of specialist earplug suppliers and we’ll find exactly the right earplug option for you.

  • Isolate from Flare Audio is made from solid aerospace aluminium or titanium encased in soft foam and offers complete sound isolation – it blocks all sound from entering your ears, including bass frequencies. You still hear music but via bone conduction, which is safer and more pleasant than the muffled sound you get through traditional ear plugs.
  • ACS Pro Series Hearing Protection features eight different types of ear plug to protect in different levels of sound environment, from a range of music settings through to motorsport.

What to do next

Contact The Hearing Clinic for an appointment to get your tailored earplugs ordered. If you’re worried that your hearing may have already been affected, we’ll also be happy to give you a full hearing test.

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