Every day, millions of workers are exposed to noisy working conditions. Almost 25% of them will suffer from long-lasting hearing impairment. In Europe, the scale of the problem is so big, that approximately 40 million workers are exposed to loud sound and over 13 million suffer from some form of hearing disorders. This is particularly common amongst the construction and general manufacturing sector*.
3M recognises the problem as one of the biggest challenges in workers health protection. That’s why we offer you better insight into this problem, along with made to measure solutions, that include a hearing protection program and wide range of innovative safety products.
*European Agency for Safety and Health at Work ‘Report – Reducing the risks from occupational noise’ dated 26/10/2005
Note: Statistics may vary between EU 27 member countries, so it is advisable to review data released by your national regulatory authorities.
It is well understood that repeated exposure to sound level above 85dB(A) can lead to permanent hearing loss and development of tinnitus which is constant ‘ringing’ sound in the ear. Hearing impairment not only has an adverse effect on our ability to perform every-day task, including work related, but can also cause other health conditions including anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, poor concentration that can potentially lead to accidents, for example.
Hearing loss is an insidious problem that develops over a prolonged period of time and early signs are often missed or dismissed. However, irreversible hearing damage can also be caused by acoustic trauma as a result of exposure to sudden and unexpected very loud sound such as an explosion.
Noise induced hearing loss remains one of the most common occupational diseases in the workplace.
Without hearing protection
At 85 decibels your hearing is at risk after 8 hours
At 91 decibels your hearing is at risk after 2 hours
At 105 decibels your hearing is at risk after only 5 minutes
At 115 decibels your hearing is at risk within seconds
At 140 decibels immediate hearing damage and pain is possible
We all love different sounds: The sound of children’s laughter, a cat purring, a river flowing, birds singing, music or a car’s finely tuned engine. All of us have just one sense of hearing so we should protect it because hearing loss causes many additional consequences.
Hearing loss makes communication much harder. People with significant hearing damage often withdraw from society as they are unable to participate fully even in a simple conversation. It’s a life without a bird song that leads to loneliness and depression. Let’s protect our hearing so we can listen to the sounds we love to hear.
As serious and irreversible hearing loss is, it is also completely preventable. We have developed a toolkit to help you implement an effective hearing conservation program, understand the regulatory needs and select the right hearing protection solutions for your workers.
Discover our unique program of Hearing Conservation to help you provide workers with the best protection against hazardous noise. From noise measurement to program evaluation – 3M offers support on every stage of work!
The 3M™ E-A-Rfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System makes it easy to measure every employee's unique level of protection in hearing protection fit testing and takes the guesswork out of managing compliance in your hearing conservation program.