Is There Such Thing as Overprotection of Your Hearing?
You can’t have too much of a good thing, including protection of your hearing, right? A recent article suggested that employers need to be concerned with over-protection of hearing on work sites. While the point is well taken that older ear plug and ear muff protection devices may impede the workers’ safety, this viewpoint is no longer applicable with today’s technological advances in hearing protection devices (HPDs). In the past, the onus was simply on a reduction in noise levels, providing basic hearing protection for workers in harsh, noisy environments. This had distinct disadvantages, when compared to the options available with today’s headsets. Employers’ moral, ethical, and legal obligations to provide a workplace environment that is conducive to the health and safety of their workers, requires constant reevaluation of available solutions. In those conditions where noise levels exceed published guidelines for worker safety, HPDs are required to reduce extreme decibel (dBA) levels that reach workers' ears, protecting them from short-term ill effects, or even permanent damage or disability.