Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss: How to Choose Ear Bands
Do you work in a noisy environment? Prolonged exposure to loud noise is a major risk factor for hearing loss. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 12% of workers in the United States suffer from some degree of hearing loss. With ear bands, however, can lower your risk of occupational hearing loss.
What Are Ear Bands?
Ear bands are a form of hearing protection. As their name suggests, they feature a band. Most ear bands consist of a pair of earplugs that are connected by a band. because they are connected by a band, you don't have to worry about losing them. The earplugs will remain together at all times, thus making them easier to keep track of.
When working in a noisy environment, you should wear some form of hearing protection. Hearing protection is classified as personal protective equipment (PPE). Like other types of PPE, wearing it is essential to protecting against injuries and illnesses.
You should consider the material when choosing ear bands. Since you'll be wearing them inside of your ear canal, you'll need to ensure they are made of a soft, semi-elastic material. Most ear bands are made of foam. They feature foal that's gentle on your ears. If you discover any ear bands made of a hard material, conversely, you may want to look elsewhere. Hard or rigid ear bands can cause discomfort, especially when working for an extended period.
You should look for ear bands that are reusable. Some ear bands, of course, are disposable, whereas others are reusable. Disposable ear bands lack the quality of their reusable counterparts. By choosing reusable ear bands, you'll experience greater comfort and protection from occupational hearing loss.
All ear bands have a pair of earplugs. Nonetheless, some of them come with extra earplugs. If one of the original earplugs becomes damaged, you can take it out and replace it with a new earplug. Other ear bands may not come with extra earplugs, though. You'll have to use caution to make the original earplugs last.
Some ear bands feature ratings, one of the most common being Noise Reduction Ratings (NRRs). NRRs are numerical ratings that indicate the level of noise protection a product offers. The higher the NRR, the greater the noise protection. When shopping for ear bands, you should check to see if they feature an NRR.
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