Trends in ... hearing protection
‘Don’t risk losing your hearing’
How big of a problem is work-related hearing loss? Bigger than you might think.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 11% of workers have hearing impairment, and 1 out of 4 cases of hearing loss are the result of work-related exposures. Safety+Health spoke with Andy Eschbach, director of retail sales at Piperton, TN-based Pyramex Safety Products, who shared his thoughts on the current state of workplace hearing protection.
Safety+Health: What are some of the recent innovations in the hearing protection field?
Andy Eschbach: The growth of new products in the active hearing protection market is tremendous. Customers are wanting the ability to stay connected to their devices while still being protected from the dangerous noise levels around them. Whether they’re operating a table saw or enjoying some time on the shooting range, active hearing protection gives them the ability to stay safe and stay connected.
S+H: What do you wish employers and workers better understood about hearing protection?
Eschbach: Working in an environment with harmful noise levels – even if just for a few minutes – can be dangerous if repeated over and over. We’re only blessed with two ears. Don’t risk losing your hearing for the convenience of performing a task without putting on your hearing protection.
S+H: What concerns or questions are customers coming to you with regarding hearing protection?
Eschbach: Specifically in the retail world, we’re getting more questions about unknown “brands” on Amazon and other retail-focused brands that are boasting blatantly false [noise reduction ratings]. We include earplugs (32-decibel NRR) in several of our retail-focused hearing protection units to be able to help combat the bad NRRs these companies are putting out there on the market. Double up and get maximum hearing protection rather than buying an unknown brand and risk losing your hearing.
S+H: What’s on the horizon?
Eschbach: Electronic active hearing protection is the new horizon. As with most of our electronic devices, more features and improved user friendliness is the key.
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
Coming next month:
- Hearing protection
- Respiratory protection