“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 Alzheimers or dimentia 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 85dB, 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 85dB. Occupational noise-induced hearing loss is also commonly referred to as industrial deafness.

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Employee safety must always be the top priority in a workplace. When the risk of occupational hazards increases in certain professions, preventative measures to protect employees become increasingly crucial. The risks increase significantly when employees are exposed to consistent loud noise as part of their daily roles. A deep understanding of the causes, effects, and prevention measures available can help to protect employees at risk.

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Workers employed in the Recycling and Solid Waste Industry face many hazards that can lead to some serious injury, illness, or death because of their daily exposure to harmful substances and use of hazardous machinery.

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Would it be beneficial to hear short-range radio communications without crosstalk interference? With Sensear’s Short-Range technology, or SR for short, workers are capable of having headset-to-headset communication up to 150 feet from one another, while having crystal-clear communication in high-noise work environments. Furthermore, this requires no communication equipment other than the headsets themselves. So, workers can have group communication and SENS® face-to-face communication without needing two-way radio cables or pairing with smartphones.

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Hearing loss is a generic term that encompasses a wide range of issues and various degrees of disabilities. Typically, hearing loss can be a progressive process, often occurring subtly over time. If not taken seriously, hearing loss can leave uninformed workers in high-noise environments with permanent hearing impairments. Not only is this damaging for the worker, but this also affects the company or business owner greatly, as they can be held liable for the health and safety of their employees.

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  Download Sensear's 7 Degrees of Hearing Loss Infographic