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1 AUSTRALIA CANADA USA UNITED KINGDOM SINGAPORE MALAYSIA Safetycare Australia Pty. Ltd. Telephone (03) Safetycare Inc. Telephone (905) Safetycare Inc. Telephone (800) Safetycare (UK) Limited. Telephone (0208) SafetyMax Corp Pte. Ltd. Telephone SafetyMax Sdn Bhd Telephone (603) The information contained in this Facilitator s guide is distributed and sold as a guide and for informational purposes only. Safetycare makes no representation or warranty as to the compliance of this program with any and all applicable laws of the purchaser's jurisdiction. 2. Safetycare's liability for any damages to the purchaser or to any other party shall not exceed the amount paid by the purchaser for the guide. In no event shall Safetycare be responsible for any indirect or consequential damages or loss of profits, even if Safetycare has been advised of the possibility of such damage. Some provinces/states do not allow the limitations or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations or exclusions may not apply to the purchaser. 3. This Facilitator s Guide is supplied as part of a subscription service. This guide is only to be used during a valid subscription period. Where a subscription is not valid, this guide may not be used. Facilitator s Guide NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS Copyright - All Rights Reserved

2 FACILITATOR S GUIDE Noise Induced Hearing Loss CONTENTS Introduction to the Facilitator s Guide 3 Introduction to the Video Program; Noise Induced Hearing Loss 4 Transcript of Video Program 5 Part 1 - An Introduction Hearing Loss 11 Part 2 - Noise Induced Hearing Loss 12 Part 3 - The Hearing Test 13 Part 4 - Noise Control Measures 14 Part 5 - Hearing Protection 15 Assessment 16 Answers 18 Page 2

3 INTRODUCTION TO THE FACILITATOR S GUIDE Noise Induced Hearing Loss The aim of this Facilitator s Guide, when used in conjunction with the Video program, is to provide the facilitator with discussion points important to the overall development of the program and to allow participants the opportunity of discussing the impact the program may have on current work practices and whether in fact changes may be required. The time allocated to the program will be determined by which areas are seen as important to each Organisation, the time taken to develop the points made in the program and whether other data specific to your own environment is included in addition to, or instead of, the program examples. EACH FACILITATOR SHOULD CAREFULLY READ THE GUIDE DISCUSSION NOTES SUGGESTED, AND PREPARE THEIR OWN INPUT ACCORDINGLY. The program transcript is included to allow your Organisation to fully research the program content and develop specific examples critical to the performance of your own workforce. Where the Video program is made available to small or remote sections of your Organisation, some other examples or discussion points may be preferred to suit the needs of these people and if so, should be developed prior to distribution of the program. Maximum benefit will then be obtained by your people. All information included in the Facilitator s Guide may be copied and distributed with the exception of the transcript of the Video program. Any information which is copied or distributed must only be used internally by the Organisation which purchased the guide. Page 3

4 INTRODUCTION TO THE VIDEO PROGRAM (Duration: 15 mins) Our ability to hear is important to us in many ways. By far the most important aspect of our hearing is the ability it gives us to hear other people speak. It enables us to interact with people, to listen, to learn, and to easily communicate. This program covers: Causes of Hearing Loss Noise Induced Hearing Loss The basic facts Noise Induced Hearing Loss What damage is done to the ear Basic Facts about Sound and Noise The Hearing Test & Audiogram Noise Control Measures Hearing Protection Poor hearing can dramatically change your lifestyle. It can lead to misunderstandings and give other people an impression of rudeness or even a lack of intelligence. It can make you more vulnerable to accidents and injuries, limit employment opportunities and lead to social isolation. The objective of this program is to explain the major hazard areas associated with noise and to increase awareness of noise issues in the workplace. Noise Induced Hearing Loss strongly reinforces the fact that once hearing is damaged, it cannot be repaired. However the program also reinforces the point that Noise Induced Hearing Loss is preventable. Page 4

5 TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO PROGRAM Noise Induced Hearing Loss Copyright Safetycare. All rights reserved Our ability to hear is important to us in many ways. It gives us pleasure, for example, by listening to music. It enables us to better protect ourselves by letting us hear sounds that can indicate the presence of potential dangers. But, by far the most important aspect of our hearing is the ability it gives us to hear other people speak. It enables us to interact with people, to listen, to learn, and to easily communicate. Causes of Hearing Loss Our ability to hear can be affected by a number of things. Birth defects Exposure to certain illnesses and diseases Blows to the head Exposure to some hazardous substances The ageing process, and of course By exposure to excessive amounts of noise. Now, of all these potential causes of hearing loss, the most common and indeed the one which we can most readily address is the one resulting from exposure to noise, commonly referred to as Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Noise Induced Hearing Loss The Basic Facts We are all constantly exposed to noise, most of which has no adverse effect on our hearing. But, we are probably all familiar with the temporary, partial loss of hearing experienced after attending a noisy event or leaving a noisy place - it is difficult to hear and is often accompanied by a ringing or buzzing noise in the ears. With a temporary hearing loss our hearing will gradually return to normal, usually within a few hours. Any temporary hearing loss should be regarded as a warning signal. Permanent noise induced hearing loss can occur in two ways. First, from on-going or repeated exposure to high noise levels, often over a period or months or years, and Second, from short term exposure to very high noise levels, which can lead to immediate damage. Page 5

6 The effects of permanent noise induced hearing loss can range from mild to severe and will get worse if exposure to unsafe noise levels continues. Permanent noise induced hearing loss can occur to anyone at any age and once the damage is done, it cannot be repaired. But, the most important fact about noise induced hearing loss is that it is preventable. What Damage is done to the Ear? In simple terms the ear works as sound waves pass from the outer ear and cause vibrations to occur at the eardrum. The eardrum and the three small bones of the middle ear amplify the vibrations and they travel to the inner ear. They pass through the cochlea which contains fluid and nerve cells. Attached to the nerve cells in the cochlea are thousands of tiny hairs that covert the sound vibrations into electrical signals. These signals are then transmitted to the brain and interpreted as sound. The vibrations of different sounds affect these tiny hairs in different ways and therefore produce different signals that are sent to the brain. These variations in the electrical signals enable us to distinguish different sounds. Permanent Noise Induced Hearing Loss occurs when these tiny hairs in the cochlea are damaged. Once bent, broken or destroyed they will not function, or not function effectively, and permanent hearing loss will occur. The extent of the hearing loss being closely related to the amount of damage to these tiny hairs. Basic Facts about Sound and Noise Sounds are vibrations that move through substances, such as air and water, as sound waves. All sound waves have two characteristics. Their amplitude which determines the loudness of the sound and their frequency which determines the tone or pitch of the sound. Loudness, sometimes referred to as sound level, or sound intensity is measured in decibels (db) A whisper has a sound level of about 20 db Normal conversational speech is around 60 db A pneumatic drill is commonly over 110 db Discomfort occurs at 120 db Pain can be felt at around 140 db Frequency is measured in hertz. The number of hertz is the number of cycles that occur every second. Page 6

7 Noise is a combination of sounds of different frequencies and of varying levels of intensity or volume. An average young person with unimpaired hearing can hear sounds of sufficient intensity or volume in the frequency range of approximately 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz. Inaudible sounds with frequencies below 20Hz are referred to as infrasonic and those with frequencies above 20,000Hz are called ultrasonic. The most sensitive range for our hearing is between 500 and 5,000Hz. With optimum sensitivity generally around the 4,000Hz level. Importantly, normal speech occurs in the frequency range of 200Hz to 8000Hz. It is therefore this frequency range which gives us the most important aspect of our hearing our ability to hear other people speak. The Hearing Test and Audiogram The hearing test is an important tool in dealing with noise issues. It measures your ability to hear the human voice. It is used for a number of different reasons: First, it will identify if you have a hearing problem and establish a benchmark or baseline of your hearing ability. Second, if conducted on a regular basis, it will show any deterioration in your hearing ability, and Third, in the workplace, it can be used for comparison with others who have been exposed to similar noise levels. The procedure is simple. Each ear is separately exposed to sounds with different frequency levels, between 500 and 8000Hz. For each tone, the volume is gradually adjusted until the threshold level is found. This is the lowest volume level where you are able to reliably detect the presence of the sound. With this information a graph, called an audiogram, is produced. It will show separate results for each ear. A person with unimpaired hearing will generate an audiogram for each ear that looks something like this. It shows that unimpaired hearing will allow hearing of all the tested frequency sounds below a level of 20 decibels. So, in other words, all the speech frequencies can be heard at relatively low levels of volume. A graph like this represents a person with some degree of hearing loss. It shows that increased sound levels are required for the tones to be heard and that Page 7

8 around the 4000 Hertz level the volume is in excess of 60 decibels. significantly louder than for a person with unimpaired hearing. This third audiogram shows a person with significant hearing loss. Now, if we are to assume that you have normal unimpaired hearing, what I m presently saying should be clear and easy to understand. Early signs of Noise Induced Hearing Loss would change the quality of what you hear and it would sound more like this. It is still easy to hear, but is not quite so clear. Severe hearing loss would sound something like this and if combined with some normal background noise it becomes extremely difficult to understand anything that is being said. It is important to understand that with the on-set of Noise Induced Hearing Loss our ability to distinguish everyday speech starts to diminish and if unsafe exposure continues, the hearing loss will get progressively worse. In many cases, simply increasing the sound level will not significantly improve the ability to hear these sounds. Noise Control Measures Noise Induced Hearing Loss is commonly associated with noise hazards in the workplace but it is not exclusively a workplace issue. Both recreational and domestic activities can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Live music events, sporting activities such as motor racing and use of items such as lawn mowers, power tools and chainsaws are all examples of activities that present potential noise hazards. Clearly, the same principles that are used to address and control noise hazards in the workplace should also be applied by individuals who are exposed to noise hazards outside of the workplace. In the workplace there are loud and sharp noises, impact noises, and what could be described as ordinary noise which is present for long periods of time. For example, general factory noise. Noise in the workplace is addressed by limiting people to what is regarded as an acceptable level of daily noise exposure. It is the employer s responsibility to conduct a risk assessment to identify where noise hazards may be a problem and to make reliable and justifiable estimates of exposure levels for anyone who may be at risk. Page 8

9 Decisions must be made, including whether noise levels are reasonable and comply with the law, and indeed whether noise control measures are needed or hearing protection is required. Noise control measures are many and varied and include: Use of sound proofing materials, barriers and enclosures Moving noisy equipment to more suitable locations Conducting regular maintenance on equipment and machinery Use of silencers, mufflers and vibration control measures, and Reducing the time individuals are exposed to particular noise hazards. As an individual exposed to noise in the workplace you should be proactive. If you work in an area for extended time periods where you need to raise your voice to be heard you re probably putting your hearing at risk if you are not using some form of hearing protection. Hearing Protection Hearing protection should be worn only when necessary and should be sufficient to reduce noise to an acceptable or safe level, not to reduce noise levels to the point of creating a feeling of isolation. Hearing protection must be worn in areas that have been identified as hearing protection zones and for job tasks that have been identified as requiring hearing protection. Hearing protection comes in two forms, ear plugs and ear muffs. Ear plugs come is a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. It is important to follow the manufacturer s instruction on their proper use. With the standard type compressible ear plug, roll the plug slowly into a thin smooth cylinder. Reach over your head and take hold of the back of your ear about half way down. Gently pull your ear outwards and upwards to straighten your ear canal. Insert about three quarters of the length of the compressed plug into your ear canal and hold it in place until it begins to expand. With ear muffs the first thing to do is to make sure they are the worn the right way around some are marked with front. Extend the headband to its maximum. If necessary, remove jewellery and brush hair away from the ears. Place the muffs over the ears, making sure there is enough room inside the muffs so the ears are not squashed. Page 9

10 Adjust the headband so it takes the weight of the cups and holds them in place. Run your fingers around the cushion to check the seal and adjust if necessary. Differences in size and shape of people s heads and ears and the wearing of hard hats, face shields and glasses often makes the selection of appropriate ear muffs somewhat difficult what suits one person may very well not suit another. Poor hearing can dramatically change your lifestyle. It can lead to misunderstandings, It can give other people an impression of rudeness or even a lack of intelligence. It can make you more vulnerable to accidents and injuries. It can limit employment opportunities, and It can lead to social isolation. Noise Induced Hearing Loss is preventable. We should not take our hearing for granted and we should all take appropriate steps to protect our hearing whenever and wherever it may be at risk. Remember, you only have one chance to look after your hearing. Once your hearing is damaged, it is damaged forever. Page 10

11 PART 1 AN INTRODUCTION TO HEARING LOSS Our ability to hear is important to us in many ways. It gives us pleasure, for example, by listening to music. It enables us to better protect ourselves by letting us hear sounds that can indicate the presence of potential dangers. But, by far the most important aspect of our hearing is the ability it gives us to hear other people speak. It enables us to interact with people, to listen, to learn, and to easily communicate. Our ability to hear can be affected by a number of things: Birth defects Exposure to certain illnesses and diseases Blows to the head Exposure to some hazardous substances The ageing process By exposure to excessive amounts of noise Now, of all these potential causes of hearing loss, the most common and indeed the one which we can most readily address is the one resulting from exposure to noise, commonly referred to as Noise Induced Hearing Loss. EXERCISE What are some noisy environments in your workplace? DISCUSSION As a group, develop a list of noisy environments found outside the workplace. Page 11

12 PART 2 NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS We are all constantly exposed to noise, most of which has no adverse effect on our hearing. But, we are probably all familiar with the temporary, partial loss of hearing experienced after attending a noisy event or leaving a noisy place - it is difficult to hear and is often accompanied by a ringing or buzzing noise in the ears. With a temporary hearing loss our hearing will gradually return to normal, usually within a few hours. Any temporary hearing loss should be regarded as a warning signal. Permanent noise induced hearing loss can occur in two ways. First, from on-going or repeated exposure to high noise levels, often over a period or months or years Second, from short term exposure to very high noise levels, which can lead to immediate damage. The effects of permanent noise induced hearing loss can range from mild to severe and will get worse if exposure to unsafe noise levels continues. Permanent noise induced hearing loss can occur to anyone at any age and once the damage is done, it cannot be repaired. But, the most important fact about noise induced hearing loss is that it is preventable. DISCUSSION AREAS What are examples of impact noises at very high noise levels? These can be inside or outside of the workplace. Why is it so important to protect our hearing? Page 12

13 PART 3 THE HEARING TEST The hearing test is an important tool in dealing with noise issues. It measures your ability to hear the human voice. It is used for a number of different reasons: It will identify if you have a hearing problem and establish a benchmark or baseline of your hearing ability. If conducted on a regular basis, it will show any deterioration in your hearing ability. It can be used for comparison with others who have been exposed to similar noise levels. The procedure is simple. Each ear is separately exposed to sounds with different frequency levels, between 500Hz and 8000Hz. For each tone, the volume is gradually adjusted until the threshold level is found. This is the lowest volume level where you are able to reliably detect the presence of the sound. DISCUSSION AREAS What is the value of regular hearing testing? Discuss the importance of factual input on the part of individuals. How can positive input from everyone influence noise control measures within the workplace? Page 13

14 PART 4 NOISE CONTROL MEASURES Noise in the workplace is addressed by limiting people to what is regarded as an acceptable level of daily noise exposure. It is the employer s responsibility to conduct a risk assessment to identify where noise hazards may be a problem and to make reliable and justifiable estimates of exposure levels for anyone who may be at risk. Decisions must be made, including whether noise levels are reasonable and comply with the law, and indeed whether noise control measures are needed or hearing protection is required. Noise control measures are many and varied and include: Use of sound proofing materials, barriers and enclosures Moving noisy equipment to more suitable locations Conducting regular maintenance on equipment and machinery Use of silencers, mufflers and vibration control measures Reducing the time individuals are exposed to particular noise hazards. As an individual exposed to noise in the workplace you should be proactive. If you work in an area for extended time periods where you need to raise your voice to be heard you re probably putting your hearing at risk if you are not using some form of hearing protection. DISCUSSION AREAS What Noise Control Measures are in place in your workplace? Why is it important for you to be proactive with regard to noise hazards? Page 14

15 PART 5 HEARING PROTECTION Hearing protection should be worn only when necessary and should be sufficient to reduce noise to an acceptable or safe level, not to reduce noise levels to the point of creating a feeling of isolation. Hearing protection must be worn in areas that have been identified as hearing protection zones and for job tasks that have been identified as requiring hearing protection. Hearing protection comes in two forms; ear plugs and ear muffs. Ear plugs: With the standard type compressible ear plug, roll the plug slowly into a thin smooth cylinder. Reach over your head and take hold of the back of your ear about half way down. Gently pull your ear outwards and upwards to straighten your ear canal. Insert about three quarters of the length of the compressed plug into your ear canal and hold it in place until it begins to expand. Ear muffs: Extend the headband to its maximum. If necessary, remove jewellery and brush hair away from the ears. Place the muffs over the ears, making sure there is enough room inside the muffs so the ears are not squashed. Adjust the headband so it takes the weight of the cups and holds them in place. Run your fingers around the cushion to check the seal and adjust if necessary. DISCUSSION AREAS What are the Hearing Protection Required zones in your workplace? Discuss the importance of the correct fitting of hearing protection. Page 15

16 ASSESSMENT NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS Name: Date:. I.D. (if applicable): Score 1. How is permanent noise induced hearing loss repaired? a) It can t be repaired b) By surgery c) With personal protective equipment d) By the ageing process 2. Permanent noise induced hearing loss can result from ongoing or repeated exposure to high noise levels, and from. a) Short term exposure to very high noise levels b) Exposure to very low noise levels c) Hearing tests d) Exposure to radiation 3. If exposure to unsafe noise levels continues, the effects of permanent noise induced hearing loss will. a) Stay the same b) Improve c) Get worse d) Disappear Page 16

17 4. What does the hearing test measure? a) How loud a noise is b) The ability to hear the human voice c) The effectiveness of ear muffs d) The size of a person s ears 5. Which of these is not a use of the hearing test? a) Showing deterioration in hearing ability b) Identifying whether one has a hearing problem c) Fixing defective hearing d) Comparison with others who have been exposed to similar noise levels 6. Which of these is not an example of a noise control measure? a) Use of sound-proof barriers b) Reducing the time individuals are exposed to a particular noise hazard c) Regular maintenance of machinery d) An audiogram 7. Hearing protection should be sufficient to. a) Completely eliminate noise b) Reduce noise to an acceptable level c) Protect from protrusion hazards d) Squash the ears 8. What would be rolled into a cylinder before use? a) An ear plug b) Ear muffs c) A muffler d) All of the above 9. When putting on ear muffs, run your finger around the cushion to check the. a) Volume b) Plug c) Hairs d) Seal 10. Temporary hearing loss should be regarded as. a) A warning signal b) Irrelevant c) Permanent d) Encouraging Page 17

18 ANSWERS TO ASSESSMENT 1. a) It can t be repaired. 2. a) Short term exposure to very high noise levels. 3. c) Get worse. 4. b) The ability to hear the human voice. 5. c) Fixing defective hearing. 6. d) An audiogram. 7. b) Reduce noise to an acceptable level. 8. a) An ear plug. 9. d) Seal. 10. a) A warning signal.. Page 18

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