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Hearing Protection For Loud Workplaces

industryAll workers exposed to noise louder than 85 decibels for eight hours or more per day should wear hearing protection devices (HPDs) such as earplugs or earmuffs. When used correctly, hearing protection devices can effectively protect against occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

22 million Americans are exposed to loud noise while on the job, with inadequate hearing protection. And an estimated $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability.

Who Is At Risk?

jackhammerWho is most at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) from their job? Here is a list of some of the loudest occupations where workers commonly experience hearing loss.

  • Construction Workers: One of the largest groups to submit hearing loss claims each year, construction workers are subject to noise all day on construction sites from machinery, heavy vehicles and power tools.
  • Factory Workers: The constant din of machinery, tools, and people yelling over all that noise makes manufacturing one of the most common industries associated with hearing loss.
  • Truck Drivers: Sitting in a loud truck for 7 or more hours a day could take its toll on anyone’s hearing. Added to the engine noise is the noise from the brakes, the wind noise, noise from communication devices, tire/road noise, and noise from other vehicles.
  • Rail Transport Employees: A study in Australia in 2006 found that rail workers experienced hearing loss at a rate that was 12 times the national average, and that the incidence of deafness for rail transport employees was higher than those from other transport industries such as air and water.
  • bartenderMusic Industry Employees (Bars/Nightclubs/Concert Venues): The sound level in music venues often ranges between 90-100 decibels, but can get up to 140 decibels - which is loud enough for immediate nerve damage to occur. People on stage (even classical musicians!) and those working behind the scenes, including sound and lighting techs, bartenders, ushers, etc, are exposed to loud music night after night, and the cumulative effect could be impaired hearing.
  • Others Loud Occupations: Some other noisy occupations include auto mechanic, military personnel, airport ground crew, farm workers, dental professionals, nursery school teachers, emergency response workers (ambulance, fire, police), race car drivers and pit crew.

Types of Hearing Protection for Workers

The type of hearing protection device to choose will depend on the amount and loudness of the noise you’re exposed to, workplace regulations, and what’s comfortable to wear. By law, hearing protection devices must be labeled with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) based on their ability to reduce noise. But remember that the best hearing protection isn’t the one with the highest Noise Reduction Rating, but the one that a person will consistently wear when they are exposed to loud noise.

Here are a few types of hearing protection commonly worn on the job... 

Types of Protection Pros Cons

Roll Down Foam

Roll Down Foam Plugs

  • Fits many different shapes of ear canals
  • Good protection in noisy environments
  • Convenient and disposable
  • Won’t provide adequate protection if not inserted correctly
  • User may not realize when the plug doesn’t make a good seal

Reusable Plugs

Reusable Earplugs 

  • Available in different sizes
  • Convenient to use, and reusable
  • Often come with convenient carrying cords
  • Must be kept clean
  • Each ear may require a different size
  • Inadequate protection if the ear canal isn’t properly sealed

Earmuffs

Earmuffs

  • One size fits all
  • Comfortable to wear for a long time
  • Can be worn with ear plugs for additional protection
  • Could be warm in a hot environment
  • May not fit comfortably with other protective equipment such as goggles

Custom Earmolds

Custom Earmolds 

  • Molded to fit perfectly in the user’s ear
  • Reusable, washable, ideal for long-term use
  • Can be made to diminish sounds over certain decibels, so you can hear normal conversation while still protecting your ears from loud machinery or construction
  • More expensive than foam earplugs, but the price is often covered through an employee insurance plan

We Can Help

If you work in a noisy environment, schedule a free hearing screening & consultation to find out whether you have a hearing loss, and if so, what you can do about it. We can fit you for custom ear molds to protect your hearing and prevent further damage. 

Schedule a FREE Hearing Screening & Consultation


Watch Patient Reviews on YouTube Watch Patient Testimonials

Dr Anzola is outstanding. Dr Anzola has provided me with hearing aids that have improved my hearing dramatically. She does an outstanding job of adjusting them each time I see her. Her staff will always fit me in if I need some help. My hearing aids have made such an improvement in the quality of my life. I am most grateful to Dr Anzola.

- Linda B., Annandale, VA

Great Service with Outstanding Results. Lost my previous hearing aids so went to Dr Ana Anzola for help in getting new ones. Thanks to her I have new hearing aids which are extraordinarily better than anything I had before. She takes time to analyze your hearing loss and then creates the best solution tailored to your needs. I woukld recommend her to anyone who suffers from hearing loss problems.

- Thomas A., Mc Lean, VA

A five-star experience! I am a first-time hearing-aid user. I did not know what to expect but Dr. Anzola immediately put me at ease, explained the process and educated me on available options. I have been impressed with the follow-up services. The doctors and staff are friendly, efficient and professional. I have recommended Ascent to others.

- Kathleen S., Herndon, VA

A+++++ (that's 5) for service, professionalism, expertise, etc. I went to the office not really knowing what to expect. Marci Smith was the Audiologist and she is very personable and professional. I am almost please enough to travel to Rockville, her normal office. Everything about the people and office are really the best.

- Richard L., Falls Church, VA

All 5 stars! I purchased my Starkey hearing aids in Naples Florida where we spend part of the year. Audiology Associates located in Naples found Ascent in a directory. With the office close to where we live, I have come in twice to purchase supplies. Service was professional, courteous, and prompt. I will be back for continued purchases as well as service on my hearing aids if necessary.

- Richard S., Oakton, VA

Service is very good and quick. After service my hearing aid is in good condition. I satisfy. Thanks.

- Thuy D., Rockville, MD

Excelent practice. Dr Anzola is an excellent professional. I'm very happy with her professional practice and office. Before I went there, I visited many doctors and they never solved my problem. With Dr. Anzola my experience has been very good.

- Ana B., Bethesda, MD

Excellent! Highly recommend. I accompanied my mother for her initial exam and again when she received the hearing aids. I was very impressed with the amount of time spent and the attention to detail. My mother is not an easy customer and for her to be impressed also says volumes. Dr. Anzola listened well and carefully and responded to all questions and concerns. I was invited to sit in as the aids were prepared and how to use and care for them was explained. She took A LOT of time going over everything, answering questions, and explaining everything in detail. We never felt hurried or rushed. Our appointment was on a Friday late afternoon. What totally amazed us was on Saturday morning my mother got a call from Dr. Anzola. She wanted to see how my mother did after the appointment and in the morning. She asked my mother if she had any questions or concerns. A follow up from the doctor WITHOUT a call from us, was a pleasant surprise. I would highly recommend her.

- Dale L., Alexandria, VA

Dr. Anzola is very attentive, listens very carefully to what ou have to say, will answer all guestions and will change whatever that can be changed to accommidate your wishes. If you have a problem Dr. Anzola will squeeze you in as soon as possible.

- Mary M., Falls Church, VA

Overall - Excellent. Office is officially run and staff (Christine) always accommodating. Appointments are timely, so next to no waiting time. Very friendly but efficient and professional environment. Small waiting room but comfortable setting. Earing devices and testing process seem to meet excellent standards...Doctor Anzola appears very technically knowledgeable and competent.

- Linda G., Fairfax, VA

I Can Hear!!! Dr. Anzola and her staff have been unbelievably fabulous with me. They worked with me to make sure that I got the help I needed and got the comfort that I wanted. They've been there every time I've needed advice or help. And yes, I've already been recommending them to friends. Think you can't hear? Go get help - After 10 years, I'm hearing the birds again... I had no idea how much I'd lost and I'm so happy to have it back again!

- Sheldon C., Arlington, VA

They have gone out of their way to help me hear better. Many times I have called or gone to their office to correct a problem or answer a question.

– Lynda R., McLean, VA

Excellent service! Dr. Anzola is totally professional, helpful and experienced - it is a pleasure to use her services.

- Jane F., Mclean, VA

Dr. Anzola taught me how to use my hearing aid. Improving your hearing is more than purchasing an aid. I am very pleased with my choice to get assistance from Ascent Audiology for my hearing needs. Dr. Anzola is a teacher as well as a doctor. I highly recommend her practice.

- Carol B., Falls Church, VA

Great service, good listeners! My hearing aids are very comfortable. I've been wearing them now since Jan. 2013. Dr. Anzola is responsive to my questions and gives great customer service! Christina is so helpful and her calls to remind me of my next appointment are much appreciated. Thank you Dr. Anzola and staff.

- Craig R., Arlington, VA

Caring, professional audiologist Dr. Anzula guided me through the difficult transition of adjusting to wearing hearing aids. She made sure I had devices to fit mt needs and took the time and care to make sure I was satisfied.

- Rhett D., Mc Lean, VA

Outstanding in all areas. Dr. Anzola and her staff are well-trained professionals who are dedicated to providing a high level of service to their patients.She is not satisfied until her patient is completely satisfied.I am very pleased with the product and my relationship with Dr. Anzola and her staff

- David S., Fairfax, VA


* Free hearing screening offer is not applicable to patients under 18 years of age or existing patients.

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