Saturday, November 24, 2007

Enviroman says "Use ear plugs for hearing protection"

Hearing Impairment

A person can be said to be hearing impaired if his or her ability to hear and understand sound is reduced or non-existent. Hearing impairment can occur in various form. The worst, already mentioned, in an absolute inability to hear sound, in other word, deaf. Nothing much can be done except help such unfortunates by teaching them sign language so that they can still communicate with each other and with those who are not deaf but knows sign language. There are also different degree of hearing impairment with some who can only hear very loud sound and others who cannot hear soft sound but can if a bit louder. Such hearing impairment is categorized as mild, moderate, severe or profound, obviously mild hearing impairment being much more preferable to profound impairment. One can get very technical using the lowest decibels (dB, some logarithmic unit used to measure the loudness of sound starting from 0 dB upward) that can be detected by the hearing impaired as a criteria to classify the degree of hearing impairment.

I taught about decibels, hearing protection and hearing loss when I was teaching Environmental Protection and Occupational Safety and Health. But I think it is not appropriate to go into the technicalities of it, so we will just take a sound level of lower decibel is softer than another sound level of higher decibel, and leave it at that.

Causes of hearing impairment

There are many causes of hearing impairment, some are biological related, some work and surrounding environment related and some medical related. Hearing impairment can be caused by obstruction of the ear canal, problems with the mechanism of transmission of sound eventually to the brain, or even inherited. These are what I would refer to as biological related causes.

Some disease and also consumption of certain medication can also lead to hearing impairment. I am no doctor nor pharmacist, so I wouldn't pretend to know a lot about these medical related causes of hearing impairment.

If you are exposed over long period of time to very loud sound in your work place or if you frequent noisy disco, this will gradually lead to hearing loss. I taught Occupational Safety and Health and teach my students about requiring workers to wear hearing protection gear such as ear muff or ear plugs. Other ways to protect workers in noisy work environment is to try to deal with the source of the noise and to limit the number of hours they can be exposed to noise intensity, the noisier it is, the less hours they should work at the noisy workplace. And of course it is my hope that my children don't frequent noisy disco or frequently listen to very loud music. These causes are referred to as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and is preventable.

Hearing Impairment Prevention

If you, your loved ones or your employees have to be in a noisy environment, it would be wise to get hearing protection gear such as ear plugs which are available from hearing protection gear manufacturers like hearing protection earplugs from Hearos. If you cannot prevent your children for frequenting noisy disco, or if they work in such places or noisy music is part of their profession as musician, Hearos have Musician Ear Plugs. From experience from what we learn from noisy workplaces, people need to be persuaded of the necessity of hearing protection because we hear from Occupational Safety and Health practitioners, workers find it inconvenient and need to be persuaded of the need for them, perhaps even incorporating them into the regulations. I wouldn't be surprised if you face the problem with disco loving children. But it is essential if you want to prevent them from suffering from hearing loss eventually if they don't listen to you.

If the environment is really very noisy, there are Loud Noise Ear Plugs. Do you or they have a penchant for guns and love to go for target practices. Get Target Practice Hearing Protection to stay safe.

Air travel can also cause problems. Air pressure varies with height (altitude). The higher you go, the lower the pressure because there is less mass of air above you pressing upon you. Now when you nearer you are, the higher the pressure. Your body has a way of equalizing the pressure on the inside of the ear after the ear drum to equal that of the outside. The problem starts when you start gaining altitude as when you are sitting in an airplane that is climbing. Internal pressure and external pressure don't equalize immediately. So you get a situation where the air pressure inside your ear behind the ear drum is higher than the outside. This can cause ear popping and pressure pain and is an unpleasant situation. To prevent this Hearos has provided for Ear Plugs for Travel

Environment and the hearing impaired

We have already discussed about how exposure to noisy environment can cause hearing impairment. Now if you have not availed yourself or get your loved ones or employees to take the above hearing loss preventions, you or your loved ones may end up as a hearing impaired.

Now not being able to hear sound can lead to dangerous situations. For example, warnings of danger may not be heard and can lead to accidents, harm and injuries. Thus the hearing impaired has to be careful that if their hearing impairment is not compensated for, they stay in a safe environment so that they are not exposed to danger. However, it is hardly reasonable to expect the hearing impaired to always stay at home, so we come to how we can compensate for such hearing impairments. There are hearing aids available, but unfortunately Hearos do not have them. Maybe one day they will as they are related products. But I suppose Hearos is concentrating on the wiser steps, provision of hearing protection, and as the saying goes, prevention is much, much, much better than cure. Why wait till you need to wear hearing aids when hearing loss is preventable?

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