Can workers protect their hearing and stay alert to workplace hazards? Yes, they can, with the proper hearing protection equipment, safety training and situational-awareness.

Pilots, soldiers, and police officers know how important situational awareness is to their survival on the job. But from a general health and safety perspective, it has a more universal application One Occupational Safety online piece describes it this way:

"(S)ituational awareness means being aware of the surrounding conditions in your immediate work area and recognizing and dealing with unsafe work conditions before they become an issue…"

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The past ten years have presented some drastic changes within the 2-way industry. The advancement of digital radio portfolios such as Motorola’s MotoTRBO, Kenwood’s NexEdge, and other DMR vendors have given additional 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.

In addition to these benefits, the past months have shown an increased movement towards safety compliance and awareness within 2-way radio vendors and accessory partners like Sensear.

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About 22 million people a year are exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels on the job. That attention-getting statistic was reported in an April 2013 article in The Hearing Journal.  OSHA's concern in this area got one Texas limestone fabricator's attention. On September 11, 2014, OSHA laid some heavy fines because the employer failed to list the warning signs emitted by the noisy machinery on their shop floor.

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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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The concept that loud machines cause hearing damage with prolonged exposure is not a new concept. However, it’s rare to find a situation nowadays where the effects of machinery in a given activity or function are seen affecting a population without any protection involved. One such study was done in Brazil and published in 2014.

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According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) an average of 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to dangerous levels of noise in the workplace. Considering that approximately $242 million is spent each year on workers’ compensation for disability due to hearing loss, it is imperative that companies take a proactive approach to preventing hearing problems. Ongoing exposure to noise levels that exceed 85 dB is able to cause substantial hearing damage. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends that workers are not exposed to noise levels that exceed 85 dB for extended periods of time.

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Business leaders in all industries and sectors value the safety of their employees, from senior management to the bottom line. However, when the risk of occupational hazards increases in certain professions, preventative measures to protect employees become increasingly crucial in business. The risks increase significantly when employees are exposed to consistent loud noise as part of their daily role.

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As defined by NOHSC: 2009(2004), occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) means hearing impairment arising from exposure to excessive noise at work. Occupational noise-induced hearing loss is also commonly known as industrial deafness.

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