Worker Protections

Hearing Protection

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workers in the United States are protected by hearing protection. 
Hearing Protection

Hearing Protection Buyers Guide

Hearing Protection Worker Protections

Dangerous levels of noise blast our ears every day, and much of it comes in occupational settings. If a worker is used to it, they might not even notice. Once hearing is gone, it is gone forever. Permanent hearing loss is irreversible. Various products are available to workers to help reduce noise, including ear plugs, caps, muffs, and others. The best hearing protector is the one that is comfortable and convenient and that a worker will wear every time they are in an environment with hazardous noise.

What Is Too Loud?

Ear protection is recommended for noise levels of 85 decibels or above. For every 3 dB above 85 dB, NIOSH recommends cutting the permissible exposure time in half.

How Loud is Your Work?

The NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app combines the best features of professional sound levels meters and noise dosimeters into a simple, easy-to-use package. The app was developed to help workers make informed decisions about their noise environment and promote better hearing health and prevention efforts.

Noise Affects Your Health

Loud noises can cause: 
– Stress, Chronic Fatigue 
– Hearing Loss, Tinnitus 
– High Blood Pressure 
– Digestive Disorders

Federal Standards and Regulation

OSHA (29 CFR 1910.95) mandates employers “make hearing protectors available to all employees exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels or greater at no cost to the employees. Hearing protectors shall be replaced as necessary.”

Hearing Protection Standards

  • ISEA is represented on the following standards committees and panels: 

    • ANSI A10 – Safety Requirements for Construction and Demolition Operations 
    • ANSI S12 – Hearing Protection 
    • ANSI Z49 – Safety in Welding and Cutting 
    • ANSI Z10 – Occupational Health and Safety Systems 
    • CSA Z94.2 – Technical Committee on Hearing Protection (liaison) 
    • US TAG to ISO TC43 – Acoustics, SC1 Noise 

Additional Resources

Occupational Noise Exposure (OSHA) 

Reducing Noise Exposure

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