Hearing Impairment: Introduction
Over the years, advancements in modern technology have led to a significant increase in the volume and variety of environmental pollutants. One of such pollutants, which happens to be an immediate and identifiable one is Noise.
A large number of industrial processes (which have developed as a result of technological improvements earlier mentioned), generate sounds up to levels sufficient to cause impairment to hearing of those who work within the vicinity.
Sound(s) of various levels of intensity necessarily occur in the human environment. However, when a sound(s) becomes unexpected or unwanted by virtue of it being unpleasant, interfering and harmful to the human system, then it is referred to as NOISE.
Measuring Hearing Impairment
Findings by various researchers have consistently identified noise to be the source of many undesirable effects on the mental and physical health of human beings. The effect of noise on health may be temporary or permanent.
However, the most widely known and acknowledged effect of noise on health is that called Noise Induced Hearing Loss. To confirm the existence of this effect on a particular person, an index of measurement is used to check changes in hearing sensitivity or threshold levels before and after a specified exposure.
Following measurement, if it is confirmed that a noise hazard does indeed exist in a part or all of a factory/place, a Hearing Conservation Programme should be initiated.
Setting Up A Hearing Conservation Programme
The basic steps involved in the instigation of a successful hearing conservation programme are as outlined below:
1. Measurement Of Noise: A detailed noise survey of the workplace(s) or area(s) thought to pose a possible hazard to hearing should be carried out.
2. Evaluate The Hazard: Measured A-weighed equivalent noise levels(leq) should be compared with the current criterion of 90dB (A) and all machines, workshops and noisy areas where this level is exceeded should be designated “Noise Hazardous Areas”.
3. Noise Reduction: Implement all hazardous noise and vibration control procedures. If reduction of the noise at source or in transmission is neither economic nor practical, then as a last temporary resort, a hearing protection programme should be instigated.
What You Can Do
Look for a Hearing Specialist offering a reliable Industrial Hearing Screening And Conservation service designed to help companies like yours comprehensively address the requirements specified by regulatory bodies. Discuss your needs with him/her.
Simeon O. Afolabi – Clinical Audiologist – runs BSA Hearing and Speech Centre through which he offers tested and proven Hearing and Speech Improvement services to a varied – and growing – range of individual/organisational clientele.