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Hearing loss still a major concern

How to protect your ears from excessive noise

Statistics from Safe Work Australia released last year indicate that, although the noise-induced hearing loss incident rate of all workers’ compensation claims appear to have stabilised since 2002/03, hearing loss still ranks very high in the national health priorities.

More than 3.5 million Australians suffer some degree of hearing loss which is one in six
people. That is above cardiovascular disease or occupational cancers.

Occupational hearing loss represents a significant social and economic burden for Australia.

In the five years from 2002 to 2007 alone there were about 16,500 accepted workers’ compensation claims for industrial deafness in Australia.

Having to deal with a case of Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss in the workplace can mean, higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums and also litigation to the
business. Other hidden costs include lower productivity, higher rate of absent employees/ employee turnover, and possibly higher accident rates – not to mention the change of quality in life for affected individuals. Occupational noise doesn’t just play a role in hearing loss, there are other conditions associated with it like tinnitus, cardiovascular disease or depression.

Bearing this in mind, intelligent hearing technology has been a serious focus in recent years for Sperian Protection, specialists in workplace safety.

As a result, hearing loss in the workplace can now be more easily prevented or managed in a more educated, professional manner.

Sperian’s hi-tech Howard Leight hearing protection product range now includes VeriPro,
QuietDose and QPi.

With these products employers have reliable and practical tools to take responsibility for
protecting the health of their workers’ hearing.

Employees should not be exposed to more than 85dB over an eight hour period or exposed to more than 140dB for any length of time.

According to the Standard AS/NZS1269, employers are required to ensure that hearing protection is provided, fitted and worn correctly.

Until recently there was no way of testing whether each individual worker was wearing
properly fitting and fitted earplugs.

With Howard Leight’s VeriPRO technology, the fit-testing of earplugs is now possible.

VeriPRO Technology from Howard Leight by Sperian measures real-world attenuation of
earplugs.

This testing technology, provides earplug attenuation level testing, in the workplace,
combined with individual training and record keeping. It works with any earplug, provides results in minutes and enhances hearing conservation program effectiveness by allowing safety managers to ensure employees are getting the most out of their hearing protection devices.

VeriPRO benefits both, safety managers and employees alike.

When it comes to wear-time, earplugs hold somewhat of an advantage over earmuffs.

Earmuffs are easy to fit but just as easy to remove again.

QuietDose by Howard Leight conducts dosimetry with a microphone located on the inside of the earplug or earmuff. This provides an insight into what the worker is doing with their hearing protection.

This noise level monitoring system provides the opportunity to basically eradicate occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

QuietDose in-ear dosimetry measures and records the actual accumulated noise dose received over a shift, whether the hearing protection is being worn or not, and alerts when the critical level is reached.

This is a new approach that provides powerful, precise, real-time information to make intelligent safety decisions. It provides real-time monitoring throughout the entire workday and alerts the worker when the noise dose approaches or exceeds safe limits. Safety managers can now be equipped with comprehensive daily noise exposure reports for their workers.

But extreme noise exposure is difficult to avoid in many workplaces, which means there
are considerable communicating challenges.

As the human voice is drowned in noisy environments, short wave radio transmission
can be a solution to the problem.

Radio transmission systems are now able to send and receive clear speech communication while offering appropriate hearing protection.

Howard Leight Technology provides quality equipment that does just this: QPi.

QPi is a unique communication earplug headset and high level hearing protector all in
one. It improves situation awareness in noisy environments as well as providing adequate protection.

QPi improves communication as it can be connected to a radio source or intercom system and is compatible as a hearing protector with all ground, vehicle and aviation helmets and other PPE, including SCBA. QPi is ideal for use in harsh and dangerous environments.

When it comes to hearing, and more importantly hearing protection, there are now as many answers as there are questions.

With the right equipment, workplace hearing loss is preventable.

Sperian Protection
Ph: 1300 139 166
www.sperianprotection.com.au