When it comes to protection on construction sites and construction workers, everyone immediately thinks of hard hats, safety jackets and protective boots, but few think about protecting their hearing unless they are operating the “really loud machinery” like jackhammers. However, continued exposure to even air guns or regular construction machinery is enough to cause hearing loss over time.
More and more research is coming out showcasing this problem and the number of construction workers suffering from hearing loss. Repeated exposure to anything over 75 decibels can cause hearing loss and many jobs in all fields of construction including road, building, material handling, home, roofing and others require workers to operate machinery or equipment that operates consistently over 75 decibels. The chart shows the volume of a large range of construction equipment.
Even if you wear hearing protection, every time you need to communicate the hearing protection needs to be removed, which doesn’t make it very effective, especially if your a foreman or someone who spends someone communicating or instructing.
According to SafetyEquipment.net they found:
Earmuffs have a few pros and cons. They can protect hearing decently even with very loud equipment like jackhammers. However, they are heavy on the head and can push rather hard against the head which can cause headaches. In winter they can provide insulation against the cold but in summer can be quite hot and bothersome. The more they aggravate workers the less likely they are to wear them. In addition to this, to communicate, a worker will remove them or remove one ear exposing them to damaging volumes of noise.
Foam earplugs the obvious pros that they are inexpensive, light to carry around and wear and great in all weather. The downsides are they aren’t particularly effective especially with louder equipment. Enough noise can get through to still cause hearing loss or damage. You can communicate better but do typically have to yell or speak loudly to be heard without having to remove them.
New to the market there are now electronic earplugs that use noise canceling technology that blocks all levels of damaging noise but offers one amazing feature which is the ability to still hear speech without having to remove the earplugs. Ears are significantly more protected with this technology and they are light, comfortable and more likely to be worn. The only downside is that they do need to be charged and are more expensive than other earplugs but your hearing is definitely worth it!
The average foam earplug cost is $50 for about 200 good quality earplugs. On average a worker works 210 days or more per year so your cost is $50 for just less than a year, QuietOn Active Noise Cancelling Earplugs will cost you $299 but should also last you more than 2 years. So if we assume at least 2 years life your cost is only $150 more than what foam earplugs would have cost you over the 2 years.