A noisy environment is one of the main stress triggers for employees and leads to reduced productivity. In high noise environments, sounds coming from machinery or equipment produce high or extreme noise levels that can adversely affect communication between workers. Common practices like shouting at others or asking them to talk loudly are barely effective. If employees cannot alert each other, accidents can occur and cause injuries. As OSHA requires workers to wear hearing protection in environments where noise reaches or exceeds 85dB, workers run into issues by removing their hearing protection when they need to communicate with one another. Most employees have a critical requirement to communicate with colleagues and traditional hearing protection headsets restrict the workers' ability to communicate. Therefore, workers need a solution that provides the correct level of hearing protection, while allowing employees to communicate and have situational awareness. 

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Loud-noise exposure can have a wide range of detrimental effects in your workplace. These loud noises can have long-term consequences such as speech interference, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and even different levels of hearing loss.

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As mentioned in our overview blog of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, sometimes we experience very loud noise which, even for a brief amount of exposure, can temporarily or permanently damage our inner ears causing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). There are often misconceptions about NIHL, but we will debunk these myths. 

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Employee safety must always be the top priority in a workplace. When the risk of occupational hazards increases in certain professions, preventative measures to protect employees become increasingly crucial. The risks increase significantly when employees are exposed to consistent loud noise as part of their daily roles. A deep understanding of the causes, effects, and prevention measures available can help to protect employees at risk.

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When working in a hazardous plant or work environment, you often hear that you need to be aware of your surroundings or to be risk-averse. But what does this mean and how does one accomplish situational awareness? According to OSHA, situational awareness is “knowing what is going on all around you by having the ability to identify, process, comprehend, and respond to critical elements of information regarding the environment in which you are located.” Let’s break that down.

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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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Those that are not privy to the world of hearing protection and smart earmuffs may never have heard of the term “Digital Signal Processing.” Digital Signal Processing or DSP is only used by premium headset companies such as Sensear to create a safe experience in loud-noise work environments, and it is a crucial element of a good industrial headset.

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There have been many advancements in hearing protection and communication technology, and probably the most well-known is active noise-canceling technology. As pointed out in a previous blog, active noise-cancellation “cancels” or blocks out almost all noise coming into the headset. This causes an issue in many work environments where workers need situational awareness to prevent workplace accidents and keep them aware of potential hazards. The alternative to active noise-cancellation is noise suppression. What are the differences between these two technologies?

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Permanent Hearing Damage

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 125,000 workers each year end up with permanent hearing damage because of workplace noise.

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Industrial noise suppression headsets are different from standard noise reduction muffs as well as active noise-canceling headphones, the latter of which are often used on public transportation or within offices when you want to cancel out background noise and listen to music.

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