There are many risks facing those who work in the mining industry. Not necessarily the least of these being hearing loss. Working constantly next to heavy, loud equipment like conveying systems, drills, and other machinery should be enough to motivate mine workers to wear hearing-protective gear. But, many workers do not, and subsequently suffer some form of hearing loss. 
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Workplace hearing protection programs typically focus on individuals with normal hearing. But what about workers who already suffer from some level of hearing loss?  Even in quiet environments, workers with hearing loss face a number of challenges, including difficulty communicating with colleagues and problems with differentiating important sounds above background noises.

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Sensear – Year in Review

As a global leader in developing and manufacturing best-in-class digital communications headsets, Sensear continues to be proactive to the needs of our customers, both existing and prospective. 

To provide the quality and effective protection and communications functionality we’re committed to, we remain focused on our SENS (speech enhancement, noise suppression) technology and our “three circles” approach to our product offerings:

  • Hearing Protection – limiting output in the ear to 82dB

  • Total Communication – Face-to-face, two-way radio, Bluetooth cell phones, and short range. Integration with a variety of communications devices with Sensear headsets.

  • Situational awareness – 360 degree directional awareness of your surroundings
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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.”

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"Exposure to silica can be deadly, and limiting that exposure is essential. Every year, many exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis – an incurable and progressive disease – as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and kidney disease. Workers affected by silica are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers lost to entirely preventable illnesses. We're looking forward to public comment on the proposal."

-Dr. David Michaels Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

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  Download Sensear's 7 Degrees of Hearing Loss Infographic