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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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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Have you ever wondered what the loudest work environment is? According to a 2018 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting industries are among the most hazardous for high noise and hearing loss, with the Forestry and Logging industry as the most pervasive. Workers exposed to high noise in the Forestry and Logging industry have “a higher percentage of hearing loss (21%) than all other noise-exposed industries combined (19%)” (CDC, 2018).

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When it comes to hearing protection for loud workplaces, business owners want to save money and purchase the cheapest option available to them. This cheaper option often comes in the form of disposable earplugs, regardless of the environmental concerns that are often associated with them. They purchase these disposable earplugs because they seem to be the most cost-effective hearing protection solution, but what if they are wrong? What if we were to say that in the long run, disposable earplugs cost hundreds of dollars more than investing in more permanent forms of hearing protection. Not only would the alternative save business owners in monetary costs, but also in productivity, employee safety, and overall business success. Let me explain how.

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The best Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) are ones that employees want to wear and have all of the features necessary for employees to get the job done safely and efficiently. Another factor to consider is the fit and the actual hearing protection level that is achieved from the HPD on a particular person. What do you do when everyone has different-sized heads and not all hearing protection fits the same? What is the solution to having the right size headset with the right amount of hearing protection for each employee?

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Hearing loss is typically a gradual loss and is not identified until it noticeably affects people’s ability to hear/communicate and is, therefore, more prevalent than most people realize. Hearing loss can be caused by several factors including illness, age, and noise-induced hearing loss. Age and noise-induced hearing loss are the most common causes of hearing loss among adults.

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According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85dB(A) can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) to occur. Based on the study Hearing Loss Among Construction Workers: Updated Analyses, 58% of older construction workers now suffer from significant hearing loss, which was often a result of not taking the appropriate precautions while working in high noise worksites. A study by Work Care found that employers pay $242 million a year in worker compensation for hearing loss, and these costs were higher in construction than in any other industry.

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In today’s hectic world of work, it can be difficult to catch a minute of peace. People with labor-intensive jobs that are based outdoors are particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of loud noises and often feel the need to escape the sound of heavy machinery. However, manual laborers are not the only workers feeling the effects of excessive noise. With open office plans now the norm in most workplaces, the sounds of chatter and movement that take place every day can have a number of detrimental effects on productivity and employee wellbeing. Managing to achieve a quieter workplace can have positive effects on employees as it can lessen the threat of:

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The past ten years have presented some drastic changes within the two-way industry. The advancement of digital radio portfolios such as Motorola’s MOTOTRBO, Kenwood’s NexEdge, and other DMR vendors have given added value to radio users in commercial and industrial organizations. These integrated solutions and applications for voice and data while increasing capacity and providing digital clarity.

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