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A guide to protecting hearing health in the workplace

Expert tips for World Hearing Day and beyond

Aiming to increase awareness about hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care worldwide, World Hearing Day is observed every March 3rd. Designed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to highlight the critical importance of early detection and intervention for hearing loss, World Hearing Day also advocates for access to hearing devices and rehabilitation services.

Each year, World Hearing Day focuses on a specific theme related to hearing health. The theme serves as a platform to educate the public, policymakers, and healthcare professionals about hearing care. These themes often highlight the prevention of hearing loss, the importance of early detection and intervention, and the promotion of hearing-friendly environments.

On this day, organisations, healthcare professionals, and advocacy groups worldwide organise events and activities such as seminars, workshops, public screenings, and campaigns to spread awareness about hearing loss and its impact on individuals and communities. They also aim to provide information on preventive measures, the significance of regular hearing check-ups, and available support and treatment options.

10 ways to protect employees’ hearing health

To ensure that your employees are protected, and to promote hearing health in your workplace, there are several steps you can take. On World Hearing Day and beyond, be sure to:

1) Provide education and awareness

Organise awareness campaigns and training sessions to educate your employees about the importance of hearing health, the causes of hearing loss, and preventive measures. Promote safe listening practices, such as using ear protection in noisy environments, and taking regular breaks from prolonged exposure to loud noise.

2) Conduct hearing screenings

Arrange for professional hearing screenings at your workplace, or encourage employees to undergo hearing tests voluntarily. This can help identify hearing loss or early signs of hearing impairment, allowing for timely intervention and treatment.

3) Implement noise control measures

Evaluate your work environment for excessive noise levels, and take appropriate measures to control and reduce noise exposure. This can include implementing engineering controls like soundproofing and noise-reducing materials, or providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as earplugs or earmuffs.

4) Establish hearing conservation programs

Develop and implement comprehensive programs that meet local regulations and best practices. These programs should include policies and procedures for noise monitoring, hearing protection, regular audiometric testing, training, and education.

5) Encourage regular breaks and rest periods

Employees should take regular breaks from noisy activities to allow their ears to rest and recover. To enable and encourage this practice, provide designated quiet areas where employees can seek respite from noise during breaks.

6) Foster a culture of open communication

Encourage employees to report any concerns or symptoms related to hearing loss or noise exposure. Take the time to establish effective communication channels to address their needs and provide support.

7) Provide hearing protection devices

Ensure that appropriate hearing protection devices, such as earplugs or earmuffs, are readily available to employees who work in noisy environments. Train them on these devices’ correct usage, maintenance, and care.

8) Review workplace policies

Assess and update your workplace policies to include provisions that promote hearing health and safety. This may include guidelines on noise levels, mandatory hearing protection, and protocols for addressing hearing-related concerns.

9) Collaborate with occupational health professionals

Seek guidance and support from occupational health professionals to develop and implement effective strategies for protecting employees’ hearing in your workplace.

10) Continuously monitor and improve

It’s important to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your hearing conservation efforts, and make adjustments as needed. Stay updated on advancements in hearing protection and best practices to ensure the well-being of your employees.

Talk to Avenue about soundproofing for your workplace

Remember, promoting hearing health is an ongoing effort requiring awareness, education, preventive measures, and continuous monitoring. World Hearing Day serves as a reminder to prioritise hearing care and take proactive steps to protect your employees’ hearing in commercial work settings.

Mark the 3rd of March on your calendar every year as a reminder to check your work environment for noise-related threats. Avenue Interior Systems has a range of resources available to help you through the yearly assessment and to educate your employees on the dangers of noise.

Call the Avenue team on 1300 827 177 today to discuss how we can assist you.