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Hearing protection on the shop floorBruneau

how do I protect my hearing during noisy work?

A problem that is (too) often not afforded enough attention is hearing protection at work. Hearing problems are often underestimated as occupational illnesses pursuant to circumstances on the shop floor. It appears that approximately 10% of the workers are confronted with noise levels that can lead to hearing damage. In other words, the problem may not be minimised, on the contrary.

Noise-related deafness is a gradual process, but it has lifelong consequences. Hearing problems suddenly appear without the person having had the least complaint in the past. It is often overlooked that the threshold that can damage hearing is often quite low. Detrimental effects to one’s hearing can start from as low as 80 decibels. That means that hearing protection at work is definitely no luxury at all.

A factor that should not be regarded as insignificant is the habituation effect. Sometimes employees are exposed to the same noise for many years with the result that they become used to them. However, habituation does not mean that there is no damage. At a certain point in time, a diagnosis of “loss of hearing” will be made, which is an irreversible process. In the best case scenario, one will be able to avoid further hearing deterioration by using hearing protection. Nonetheless, prevention is better than a cure and it is preferable to take immediate action against a noisy environment.

For this reason, the legislator did not hesitate in taking measures. We firstly refer to European Directive 86/188 on the protection from the risks related to exposure to noise at work, which obliges employers to take measures as soon as the threshold of 80 decibels is exceeded. Belgian law also stipulates that the employer must make means of hearing protection available to employees. In addition, extra measures are mandatory where the working environment is exceptionally noisy. In that case, there is even an obligation to tackle the cause of the noise. In other words, employees’ exposure to noise pollution must be as small as possible to limit hearing damage to the absolute minimum.

There are various means of hearing protection, including banded earplugs, earmuffs and earplugs. Firstly, JM Bruneau has included the Percap folding hearing band in its range. This is particularly suitable for both regular and occasional use. The band affords protection up to 24 decibels, has ear plugs with sponge-covered pods, a propylene band and adjustable ear plugs. They weigh 10 grams.

In the context of hearing protection accessories, the soundproof flexible earmuffs must also be mentioned. These are very practical to use, are lightweight and can be folded, which makes them easy to carry around. The ear muffs suppress up to 25 decibels and have a metal textile-covered headband, ABS ear cups with cushions covered with PVC.

With the hearing protection items, we also mention a box of 200 pairs of earplugs. These attenuate the noise by up to 44 decibels and meet the EN 352-2 standard. They are made of non-irritating sponge and are hypoallergenic.

JM Bruneau is always prepared to provide you with further information on hearing protection: a mere click is enough to contact us.