Mining presents many risks to all involved, from the financial and investment level, down to the frontline worker in the mines. In the public's mind, the risk of a mining shaft cave-in far outweighs the risks to physical health over time. When health risks are discussed, it has commonly only been about diseases such as black lung disease. However, according to the CDC, "One out of every four mine workers has a hearing problem. Even worse, four out of five mine workers have a hearing impairment when they reach mid-60s retirement age" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Furthermore, 76% of miners are exposed to hazardous noise daily, which is more than any other major industry.

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The steel industry is one of the largest global industries in the world, employing over 6 million people worldwide. It is also one of the louder industrial sectors, with the average noise exposure ranging between 85-92 dB(A) from various equipment including compressors, machine grinders, jets, and hammers. The noise generated by hot and cold rolling mills alone can reach up to 110 dB(A).

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Industry leaders in every field value the importance of safety for employees and managers. This emphasis on safety is even more important in fields that include extremely high levels of occupational noise exposure, such as mining or oil and gas. However, in these extremely loud environments, traditional methods of hearing protection just don't provide enough noise reduction. That's where double hearing protection (DHP) comes in. 

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POV: You're scrolling through your favorite social media platform and suddenly, the app crashes. Or you're at the airport trying to catch a flight home, and unexpectedly, every flight is canceled. Most people probably aren't thinking about data centers when they experience these inconveniences. Data centers have a significant impact on many different facets of the economy, and when they go down, the world comes to a halt. Not only does data center downtime cost a lot (about $9,000/minute on average), but data center downtime can be quite damaging, sometimes even endangering lives. 

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“What?! What did you say?! I can’t hear you!” Is this a typical occurrence in your oil or gas operations? Industrial noise in an oil or gas operation is a concern for all employers, with noise levels reaching up to 110 dB(A) or beyond. Studies have shown that the prevalence of hearing loss among oil and gas workers can be as high as 27% depending on their work environment. Beyond the on-the-job safety concerns of noise and the impact it has on hearing loss, there are long-term health effects that go well beyond hearing impairment. The CDC reports that hearing loss is the third most chronic physical condition in the US, outpacing diabetes and cancer. Studies have also shown a substantial increase in an individual’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer's or dementia as the severity of hearing damage increases.

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According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the annual financial impact to employers due to worker's compensation cases for employee hearing loss on the job is estimated to be $242 million. In fact, hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States. Approximately 22 million workers are exposed to harmful noises daily on the job. Data centers are particularly noisy places, with the average noise level reaching up to 92 dB(A) around server areas, and within the server racks, noise levels can reach up to 96 dB(A). In all cases where noise levels exceed 85 dB(A) for more than 8 hours, it is well documented the impact that insufficient hearing protection can have on employees’ long-term hearing quality.

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A noisy environment is one of the main stress triggers for employees and leads to reduced productivity. In high-noise environments, sounds coming from machinery or equipment produce high or extreme noise levels that can adversely affect communication between workers. Common practices like shouting at others or asking them to talk loudly are barely effective. If employees cannot alert each other, accidents can occur and cause injuries. As OSHA requires workers to wear hearing protection in environments where noise reaches or exceeds 85 dB(A), workers run into issues by removing their hearing protection when they need to communicate with one another. Most employees have a critical requirement to communicate with colleagues and traditional hearing protection headsets restrict the workers' ability to communicate. Therefore, workers need a solution that provides the correct level of hearing protection, while allowing employees to communicate and have situational awareness. 

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Loud-noise exposure can have a wide range of detrimental effects in your workplace. These loud noises can have long-term consequences such as speech interference, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and even different levels of hearing loss.

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As mentioned in our overview blog of noise-induced hearing loss, sometimes we experience very loud noise which, even for a brief amount of exposure, can temporarily or permanently damage our inner ears causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). There are often misconceptions about NIHL, but we will debunk these myths. 

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Every day, we hear sounds around us at work, at home, or in the car. Most of the time, these noises are harmless to our ears. However, sometimes we experience very loud noise which, even for a brief amount of exposure, can temporarily or permanently damage our inner ears. This damage is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and typically occurs in high-noise work environments where noise exceeds 85 dB(A). Occupational noise-induced hearing loss is also commonly referred to as industrial deafness.

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