Safety tip of the week

Jun 5, 2019
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Written by Washington Retail
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How to adjust for hearing loss

Concerts, iPods, cell phones and very loud sporting events all may contribute to a future of people suffering from hearing loss.  This is happening for Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials.  There’s also natural hearing loss that can start about age 40.  When compounded by the items mentioned earlier, hearing loss will likely become a bigger issue.

When working with seasoned employees you need to realize the instructions you just shouted out from across the room might not come through clearly.  Sometimes certain tones or frequency ranges ‘drop out’ and become inaudible. There’s also ringing in the ears (tinnitus) that can make it difficult to hear warning shouts or instructions in a noisy environment.

Some solutions:

  • Make sure that hearing protection is always worn when noise levels are consistently over 85db (noise level chart can be found here and there are noise apps for your smartphone here).
  • Try to reduce background noise levels as low as possible by shielding noisy equipment.
  • Provide important information visually.
  • Reduce echoing with improved acoustics.
  • Sirens or warning alarms should have alternating frequencies (think of a European police car siren).
  • Provide hands-free telephone headsets with adjustable volume switches.
  • Speak clearly.

Technology can help improve hearing somewhat, but it’s a sense that we can’t get back once it is gone.

WR employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or [email protected]