Non-use of HPDs

This is a review of a study that talks about Noise induced hearing loss and hearing protection.  This was

Written by Shereen Hashem on Oct 11, 2021 and reviewed by Karen M. at Hears to U.

A study estimates that more than one-half of noise-exposed workers did not use hearing protection “always” or “usually” when exposed to hazardous occupational noise.   The study was published online October 1, 2021 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.  Researchers found female workers, young workers (aged 18-25) and current smokers had a significantly higher prevalence of Hearing Protection Device (HPD) non-use.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Masterson, research epidemiologist and study co-author, “Our findings regarding Hearing protection aids non-use by gender and age group are consistent with previous studies”.  However, the relationship between smoking and hearing protection non-use was new.  “Our study was the first to find a significant association between current smoking and HPD non-use.”

The study looked at 39,508 adult current workers from 2007 and 2014 questionnaires.  These surveys asked workers about their hearing protection use and occupational noise exposure within the past year.  Overall, the prevalence of hearing protection non-use did not change significantly.

Among all workers exposed to noise in 2014, researchers found the majority (53%) did not wear hearing protection consistently.  Interestingly, some industries where noise is a well-recognized hazard were found to have higher than average prevalence of non-use.  For example, the agriculture, forestry and hunting industries all had a non-use prevalence of 74%.

This non-use of hearing protection and protecting your hearing is problematic.  Dr Masterson says, “Increasing worker awareness and providing training about the importance of proper and consistent use of HPDs can protect workers from the effects of hazardous noise.  In addition, we need to overcome barriers to hearing protection use by ensuring that workers have hearing protection products that are comfortable and do not overprotect from noise so they can hear speech and other important workplace signals”.

Hears Hearing & Hearables want to help you all find the right hearing protection product.   We have access to a number of devices and products that protect hearing and to various degrees or noise reduction, sizes for different ears and for environments.  Depending on the workplace, custom-made earmolds could provide the protection you need while still trying to figure out how you can hear your co-workers and the fire alarm.

Please stay safe in noise.  Not only is it bad for your hearing, it is also bad for your heart and stress.  But we digress.  We are just here to talk to you about your hearing. 

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