Posted on: July 11, 2019
The HSE has just released new guidance on how best to manage the use of hearing protection for employees who wear hearing aids. The following is a summary, but you can also download a full advance copy.
There are key considerations when implementing a hearing conservation programme in areas that include personnel who already have a hearing impairment and may need to use hearing aids.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) not only causes the well-known problems associated with communication and tinnitus, but it also increases the risk of dementia (by c 9%) and mental health issues and reduces employment and household income. Consequently, it is very important that staff with existing hearing impairment are protected from further damage.
In the real world, PPE is often an order of magnitude less effective than generally realised – for noise levels above c 95dB(A), for example, it is unlikely to provide adequate protection. Consequently, the best option is to usually to invest resources in noise control rather than simply repeating placebo measurements to either eliminate the problem or to reduce the noise to a level where PPE is effective. Using the latest low cost engineering technology can make noise control projects self-financing surprisingly often… Our noise control audit (instead of, or as well as, a risk assessment) provides a detailed cost/benefit analysis of the options to reduce noise across a whole site or from a single machine that provides the information you need to make the best risk management decisions.
You can download an advance copy of the guidance below (it will appear on the HSE website later this year).