We experience sound in our work environment every day, such as the sounds from people talking, traffic and the general noise around us. Normally, we hear these sounds at safe levels that do not affect our hearing. However, when we are exposed to harmful noise – sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time e.g. construction equipment – sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss.
These sensitive structures, called hair cells, are small sensory cells that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back. Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible, and there is no cure.
If we are exposed to these high levels of noise for an extended time, we have to wear hearing protection! It has to be worn properly! As an employer, we provide this free of charge, and we train our employees on how to fit the PPE and care for it. It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that they comply with the rules.