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1.Why should I protect my hearing?
Hair cells in the inner ear can be permanently damaged after continuous exposure to sound pressure levels (SPL) over certain decibel (dB) levels. According to our labour law, more than 8 hours exposure to sound levels above 85dB is regarded as dangerous. For unprotected ears, allowed exposure time decreases by ½ the amount of time for each 3dB increase in SPL. For e.g. exposure should be limited to 8 hours at 85dB, 4 hours at 87dB, 2 hours at 90dB, etc.
Permissible exposure for unprotected ears at 105dB is 4 minutes per day!
2.Can I still communicate with others and hear machine problems when wearing Protec-Ear SA hearing protectors?
Just as sunglasses help vision in very bright light, so do hearing protectors enhance speech understanding in noisy places. Even in a quiet setting, a person wearing hearing protectors should be able to understand a regular conversation. Hearing protectors do slightly reduce the ability of those with damaged hearing or poor speech discrimination to understand normal conversation however, it is important to prevent further noise-induced hearing damage. Most machine operators quickly adjust to quieter sounds and can still detect machine problems. Most people automatically speak louder in a noisy environment, therefore as the noise source levels are dropped, for example from 115dB to 80dB, and if speech is at 80dB, it is easily understandable despite the background noise.
3.Why we need hearing protection – some background:
When it comes to hearing, very few people realize the importance of protecting their hearing! Over the years we have seen and treated many people that have been affected by hearing loss. On average, 30% of the population is exposed to high noise levels during work or play, of which one third will suffer from occupational deafness by the time they retire. Before they actually become aware of their hearing loss there is a decrease in work efficiency, they get agitated, frustrated, aggressive, depressed, they feel more isolated from the community and tend to become withdrawn from society. Family conflicts frequently occur and some become paranoid. Physical changes can occur like higher blood pressure and increased heart-rate. Risks of arthritis and cancer can also increase.
Not only does their hearing-loss affect them, but physically and psychologically they struggle to get along with society.
4.Protect your hearing!
It certainly takes a few adjustments – it's a new lifestyle, but definitely worthwhile in the end. We don't "feel" hearing loss at a young age (it's painless!), but as we get older the sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss that can be caused by several factors other than noise (ageing, genetics, ototoxic drugs, viruses) could be reduced or prevented by addressing the noise-induced factors!
Due to the adaptations that need to be made and the fact that some hearing-protectors do not measure up to the persons needs, they choose not to wear them. People feel the costs are too high, they can "do without them", they "interfere", etc. Hearing loss is irreversible! Once the nerve is damaged, it never recovers. Having been involved in the hearing field for a considerable time and knowing that prevention is better than cure, Protec-Ear has devoted a lot of their time and energy into developing a hearing protector that is user-friendly, comfortable and affordable and that complies with and surpasses the minimum specifications laid down by the SABS and Department of Labour.