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Toolbox talk on abusing your ears: How to prevent permanent damage

by , 12 June 2015
Imagine you know for sure that one day, on a given date, you'd lose your hearing.

Would you want that?

Probably not. And that's why you shouldn't allow your employees to abuse their ears if they need to work with loud machinery.

Protect yourself and your employees! Use this toolbox talk to educate them on the risks.

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Your Toolbox Talk on hearing loss

Keep in mind that hearing loss is something that you can't see, it happens over a period of time. Gradually you notice you can't hear someone when they speak in a normal voice tone.

Also, it is noticeable if sometimes you only hear one or two words in a sentence.

Some people are sensitive to noise, even if the noise level is within the legal limits of under 85dB (decibels).

These people should take precautions and wear hearing protection to prevent trauma to the ears.

Example 1
Nellie has to go into the workshop once a day to collect the employees' clock cards. She never wears her hearing protection. The level of noise in the workshop is 95dB (decibels), 10 decibels higher than the safe level for noise. Nellie, at the age of 40 became deaf.

Example 2
Brian loves his music and always set the volume so high that you could hear it in his entire neighbourhood. When he started work at the age of 22, his hearing was tested and the result showed that he had already lost 20% of his hearing ability. Brian didn't listen to the raining at work on protecting his hearing. He became deaf at the age of 30.

What's at stake?

Although we generally believe  'I'll only be there for a few minutes, I won't worry to wear my ear plugs", the truth is that we do it all the time and if we add up the minutes we expose ourselves to noise, it becomes days, then months and years.

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Therefore, at the end of the calculation, you're exposing yourself to this noise for a long period of time. This causes you to lose your hearing. When we listen to loud music or spend a lot of time in places where the noise level is high; we are abusing our ears.

What's the danger?

Loud music – listening to music where the volume is ear crushing. Keep in mind that if you have other people with you, you're exposing them to the possibility of hearing loss as well. Loud machinery causes hearing loss. It's impossible to replace your ears so protect your hearing ability. If your employer doesn't give you hearing protection, ask for it. Continuously working in a noisyv environment causes hearing loss.

How to protect yourself: Here are five things you should know

1. Your employer must do noise surveys to ensure your hearing is protected in areas where the noise is above the legal limit.
2. Your employer must give you hearing protection if you work in, or have to go into a noise area for any reason or any amount of time.
3. Wear your hearing protection whenever you go into a noisy area.  
4. The DoL can fine you for not wearing your hearing protection.
5. The Compensation Commissioner might not pay for your treatment if you don't wear your hearing protection.

So wear your hearing protection, you only have two ears and you need both of them to hear.

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