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Author: admin | 05.01.2014 | Category: Tinnitus Hearing Loss

Question: How long can a person endure a certain noise level before hearing impairment occurs?
Whether or not a hearing loss case ultimately is related to on-the-job exposure, determining work-relatedness can help employers prevent noise-induced hearing loss by identifying patterns of hearing loss and instituting hazard controls. The Irish Times has published an annual directory of the Top 1000 companies in Ireland over the past 10 years. Unlike some animals, humans are not designed to hibernate, so don’t let winter be your excuse. In the United States, the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for noise-exposed workers on a 12-hour workshift is lower than for workers on an 8-hour workshift. TRUE! While OSHA does indeed define its PEL at 90 dBA TWA, it clearly states that this level is intended only to protect most workers—not all. Most sound level meters and personal noise dosimeters have an optional A-weighting switch, allowing the user to apply an internal filter that corrects the measurements.
Removing an earplug for just a few minutes during the workday will not affect overall protection. FALSE!
The math seems skewed, but because the decibel scale is logarithmic (not linear), small intervals of no protection quickly cancel long intervals of adequate protection.
Summary Statement: Provides a basic understanding of the nature of noise exposure in construction and details on how to set up a hearing conservation program to minimize hearing loss.
The database can be found online and provides details on all the companies and can be searched by industry, company and key employees.
A significant number of workers will still suffer permanent hearing loss at exposure levels of 85-90 dB TWA.

A-weighting is a correction added to noise measurement equipment to mimic the human ear. TRUE! These A-weighting corrections mimic the frequency sensitivity of the human ear, which is not as sensitive to low and high-frequency sounds as it is to mid-frequency speech sounds. If a worker wears a well-fit earplug with an NRR of 30 dB, but removes that earplug for just 15 minutes (cumulative) while working in noise throughout the 8-hour workday, it is as though an earplug with NRR of 15 dB was worn for the entire workday. OSHA advises taking your noise measurements in A-weighted decibels in Hearing Conservation Programs. Noise-exposed workers need to be reminded to wear hearing protection properly 100% of the time during exposures.
Well, let's check your know-how with this quick test of fact and fiction about noise exposure. For this reason, workers on extended workshifts also require hearing protectors with greater attenuation.
If the STS is confirmed or if no retest is completed within 30 days, and the decrease in hearing results in hearing levels that are consistent with at least a mild hearing loss (25 dB average hearing level), the STS must be recorded on the OSHA Illness and Injury Log (OSHA 300 Log). Now, under the revised record keeping final rule, hearing loss cases are recorded in a separate column. The OSHA occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements final rule states that although work-relatedness is not presumed, the determination of work-relatedness is made on a case-by-case basis. The primary principle is that professional supervisors must be able to substantiate their determinations. Therefore, “unless there are clear and cogent reasons why the loss is entirely unrelated to the work environment,” it should be considered work-related and thus recordable.

This can be measured by point measurement with earplug fit testing or with continuous monitoring of protected exposure levels. Both physicians and audiologists are held to ethics codes in order to maintain their license to practice. Ask if the physician or audiologist who reviews your audiometric test results is certified by the Council for Accreditation in Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). While this additional level of training is not required, it does help the employer differentiate and find the best-qualified assistance. Employers should take advantage of additional information that is available now with the separate column, such as the identification of patterns of hearing loss, which should lead to control of hazards that would prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
Identification of problems in your hearing conservation program can help prevent future recordable hearing loss cases.
If a hearing loss is not work-related, it is important to determine other causes of hearing loss and arrange for necessary treatment. Schulz is a past-president and an active member of National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) and president of the board for the NHCA Foundation.
She also is a board member and past chair of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation, a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a fellow in the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and a member of the Air Force Audiology Association.
Schulz holds a BS in communication disorders and an MA in audiology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D.

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