Standard 29 CFR Part 1910.95 Hearing Conservation
Agenda Today you’ll be learning about: • Hearing and Noise exposure • Audiometric testing (hearing tests) • Hearing protection (ear plugs, muffs, etc.) • Hearing conservation training
Hearing Conservation: What is it? Hearing Conservation is a company program that: • Establishes the noise levels present in various areas of our facility; • Outlines the steps required to protect employee hearing in those areas.
How we hear • Noise is a series of vibrations that travel through the air as waves. The sound waves strike our ear drum and cause it to vibrate, which in turn causes the liquid within our inner ear to vibrate. • Inside of our inner ear are hair-like projections called cilia. Nerves are attached to the cilia, and as they move with the liquid, nerve impulses are transmitted to the brain. • Prolonged exposure to excessive noise causes the cilia to fail and become unable to transmit sound impulses. • Once the cilia fail from overexposure to noise, we have lost our hearing. This is called: NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS • Usually, surgery, hearing aids, etc. are of limited use to correct noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise • Noise is unwanted sound • Noise at or above 85 decibels (dB) for a long duration can cause permanent loss to our hearing • Loss can also come from an impact noise of 140dB or greater • Some noise comparisons are: • Normal conversation/office: 60 decibels • Busy traffic: 75 decibels • Woodshop noise: 100 decibels • Chainsaw: 110 decibels • We monitor noise in our facility: Areas with exposure at or above 85dBA are addressed in the Hearing Conservation Program
Audiograms Audiograms are hearing tests. Sounds are presented to you at the following frequencies, measured in Hertz (cycles per second): -500 -3000 -1000 -4000 -2000 -6000 The larger the number, the higher the pitch of the sound • Sounds are presented through ear phones while you sit in a very quiet room or booth • You will be asked to respond by pushing a button or by raising your hand
Audiogram results • The results of your audiogram are recorded and compared to your “baseline” audiogram • The baseline audiogram is the record of either your first audiogram or of an audiogram where a significant change in your hearing was noted • If your audiogram shows that your hearing has worsened by an average of 10 dB or more in the 2000, 3000 or 4000 Hertz frequencies, you will be told that you have a standard threshold shift, or STS, and special procedures will be followed to ensure that your hearing loss is stabilized.
Standard Threshold Shift (STS) • If you have an STS, you may have suffered a noise-induced hearing loss • Noise-induced hearing loss is usually a slow developing process that is “insidious,” which means that you do not recognize the loss because it is so gradual: it “sneaks up on you.” • The insidious nature of noise-induced hearing loss is often the reason that employees fail to follow the rules to prevent it: They don’t realize that the noise exposure is hurting them
Signs of hearing loss • Early signs of hearing loss: -Conversations seem muffled -You increase TV and radio volume -You keep asking others to “speak up” • Long-term effects of hearing loss: -You can’t engage in conversations with others -You are unable to enjoy TV, movies and other entertainment -You can become socially isolated Think of someone that you know who has significant hearing loss
Preventing hearing loss • The only way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to wear hearing protection in areas with noise exposure at or greater than 85dB • Areas in our facility where hearing protection is required include areas we will discuss now • You must also wear hearing protection when you are at home and engaging in activities with high noise exposure such as: -Working with power tools -Working with small engine powered tools -Shooting • Noise exposure at home will have the same effect as noise exposure at work: both can cause hearing loss
Hearing protectors • Hearing protectors are available at work and must be worn when and where required • All hearing protectors are evaluated and approved for use in our facility: they work! • General rules for hearing protectors: -Read and follow the package instructions -Be sure your hands are clean when handling ear plugs -Keep re-usable hearing protection clean and store the equipment properly when not in use • Let’s look at hearing protection that you will be using
Training and information • You will receive annual Hearing Conservation training that includes rules for our facility, available hearing protection and how to use it, and other important information • You will receive an annual audiogram - if any significant change is noted you will be notified in writing • You have access to a copy of the OSHA standard “Occupational Noise Exposure.” You can ask the program administrator to see a copy. There is also a copy posted in our facility
Conclusion • Hearing loss can occur from excessive exposure to loud noise at work and at home • Once noise-induced hearing loss has occurred, medication, surgery and hearing aids are of limited use for treatment • Noise-induced hearing loss can make it almost impossible to communicate with others • Hearing loss can only be prevented by wearing hearing protection at work and at home
For more information For more information regarding Hearing Conservation, or other safety issues, please contact: Gregory & Appel Insurance Mike Salazar, Vice President Direct: 317-686-6407 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org