When it comes to hearing protection most people’s first thought would immediately go to industrial workers, whether it be factory workers, airport workers, manufacturing workers they are the poster examples of hearing protection. Most employers do at least acknowledge and supply ear muffs or earplugs of some kind to protect hearing but they aren’t always adequate for the level of noise a worker is subjected and all have their pros and cons. However, hard to believe, there are some employers who are negligent in providing any type of hearing protection or earplugs and there are a quarter of workers who simply don’t like wearing them for one reason or another and neglect their own hearing protection.
With a quarter of all workers opting to not even wear them and some employers neglecting to protect their workers it’s not a surprise that according to the US Board of Labor:
Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Last year, U.S. business paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers from noise.
While it’s impossible to put a number to the human toll of hearing loss, an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers’ compensation for hearing loss disability.
Why leave your hearing into the fate of your employer or as an employer why not invest in the latest technology for hearing protection which are active noise canceling earplugs that effectively reduce all noise, with exception of speech, which means workers can carry a conversation normally in a loud environment without having to remove their hearing protection. Learn more of the advantages below where it showcases the three popular hearing protection types.
Data according to: http://www.industrialnoisecontrol.com/comparative-noise-examples.htm
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.