Two National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) publications have recommendations on the best practices in preventing hearing loss. The first is Criteria For a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise Exposure and the other is Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss – A Practical Guide.
In 1983, a hearing conservation program was required to be implemented if a worker’s noise exposure was equivalent to or greater than an 8 hour time-weighted average sound level of 85 dBA.
The NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) for job-related noise exposure (85 dBA, decibels A-weighted, as an 8-hour time-weighted average). An updated risk assessment reconfirms this level and time of exposure for 85-dBA REL.
In regards to hearing protection, NIOSH noted that the noise reduction rating (NRR), a single-number according to a laboratory-approved rating, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires to be displayed on labels of every form of hearing protection that is sold in the U.S. is insufficient. NIOSH recommends calculating the noise exposure to the person who uses hearing protection in a work environment. The NRR should be derated by subtracting from the NRR 25%, 50%, and 70% for industrial-strength earmuffs, formable earplugs, and all other styles of earplugs.
A Guide to Preventing Hearing Loss on the Job
NIOSH published Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss - A Practical Guide in 1996. Practical modifications can be made as followed:
The most successful programs for hearing loss prevention all feature the following eight elements:
Learn about accommodations that can be made by your employer, so that you and your company get the most out of your workspace.
If you are noticing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers.