There’s no question that the mining industry is filled with high-noise environments that require hearing protection devices (HPDs) in order for workers to perform safely. But when traditional HPDs interfere with worker communication, the devices are often removed so that workers can talk to one another, exposing them to the risk of hearing loss the HPDs were intended to prevent.
This risk may be best summed up by the CDC, which features a paper on its website from the Noise Control Engineering Journal that states:
"[M]iners frequently complain of reduced audibility or confusion about identifying spoken words when wearing conventional hearing protectors. This leads to an increased risk of miners being struck by moving equipment or errors in communication with co-workers. Miners will often remove their hearing protectors to overcome these obstacles.”