Hearing conservation Worker health and wellness

‘Listen Today to Hear Tomorrow’: ISEA launches hearing protection campaign

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Arlington, VA — The International Safety Equipment Association has launched an initiative highlighting the importance of preventing hearing loss in the workplace – where, according to NIOSH, 22 million people are exposed to hazardous noise each year.

The Listen Today to Hear Tomorrow campaign is designed to raise awareness of work-related noise-induced hearing loss. Through the campaign’s website, workers can request free earplugs and download mobile apps that calculate noise levels.

NIOSH’s recommended exposure limit for noise is a time-weighted average of 85 decibels over an 8-hour period – and permissible exposure time is cut in half for every 3 dB above 85 dBA.

Workers in industries such as carpentry, agriculture, groundskeeping and music education routinely experience noise levels hovering around 85 dB, a May 1 ISEA press release states, citing NIOSH analysis. ISEA provides examples of common noise exposures whose decibel levels can be hazardous over time:

  • Leaf blowers (90 dBA)
  • Belt sanders (93)
  • Warehouse forklifts (96)
  • Jackhammers (105)
  • Ambulances (120)

“Employers and workers really need to take this seriously,” ISEA President Charles Johnson said in the release. “Permanent hearing loss is irreversible. It’s personally and economically devastating. Fortunately, it’s usually preventable with proper hearing protection. Hearing is too important to take for granted.”

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