Hearing Loss Cost is Far-Reaching
No business or government agency wants employees to suffer any injury in the workplace, whether physically or psychologically damaging. Hearing loss is one of a number of injuries that can be avoided today when hazards are identified and controlled through the use of appropriate hearing protection devices (HPDs). Unfortunately, these protective devices were not available decades ago, and many individuals carry the burden of hearing loss as a result. This impacts the quality of life for the individual, impairs communication with family members and associates, and may even have a long-term effect on their livelihood. Some career opportunities could be unavailable to candidates with hearing impairments.
Some employers or agencies are today being charged with evaluating their financial obligations to past employees or veterans, going back many years. The Veteran Affairs Canada agency has been managing claims for hearing loss dating back to the 1960s when militia members were not equipped with hearing protection on firing ranges or protected in other environments. Over a two-year period from April 2012 to March 2014 these awards number over 5,000, at a cost of over $143 million. Even the handling of these applications for compensation, reviews of each case, and hearing evaluations required to confirm the hearing loss can add significant costs to the agency. As additional veterans become aware of these awards, more are bound to submit their claims. Most will no doubt be legitimate, but the agency will certainly need to evaluate each claim on its own merit, incurring the cost of those processes, as well.
A study published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care reported that there are definite quantitative societal costs associated with hearing loss. Over their lifetime a “severe to profound” hearing loss can result in a cost to society of $297,000 per individual. The largest part of these costs is the estimated impact on the lost work or productivity experienced as a result of the loss of hearing. With an estimated 500,000 to 750,000 US citizens impacted by this level of hearing loss, it’s easy to determine that the cost is high. There are direct costs to companies that can be significant as well, such as lost productivity and medical claims resulting in higher insurance premiums and possible legal action.
Hearing Loss is Preventable
Employers today can take a number of steps to avoid these injuries and their impact on employees, avoiding hearing loss and associated costs. While hearing loss is not curable, it is preventable through appropriate action:
- Hearing conservation programs, including regular monitoring of each potential hazardous condition on its own merit (no one-size-fits-all approach)
- Selection and use of HPDs that protect hearing in various environments
- Training of workers on safety issues related to hearing protection
Today’s headsets meet all of the requirements for hearing protection while permitting face-to-face communication and allowing self-awareness of the surrounding environment. These devices are available in several configurations including headband, helmet mount, and behind the neck. Your particular work environment and communication needs will determine the best headset for each application. Sensear’s products offer reliable, effective solutions to your hearing protection and communications requirements, through our ‘three circles’ approach to hearing protection:
- Hearing Protection – certified hearing protection limiting output to safe, comfortable levels
- Total Communication – Face-to-face, Two-way radio, Bluetooth® cell phones, short-range
- Situational awareness – 360° directional awareness of your surroundings
Our SENS® Technology (Speech Enhancement, Noise Suppression) makes our headsets the most effective and flexible approach to hearing protection, combined with clear digital communications.
This specialized technology and our ability to respond quickly to specific requirements, provide you with unmatched products and services. For additional information about how Sensear can address your hearing protection and communications requirements, contact one of our high-noise-level communication specialists.
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