The Alarming Increase in Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
While it may be true that the pair of facial appendages known as ears are not necessarily the most attractive of everyone’s features, a journey along the auditory canal reveals a structure of delicate beauty and precision beyond the tympanic membrane, in the middle chambers of the auditory system. Known as ossicles, the triad of tiny bones, consisting of the descriptively-named maleus, incus and stapes, or hammer anvil and stirrup, is responsible for conducting soundwaves to the inner ear.
The Growing Need for Greater Attention to Hearing Conservation
Humans, and even animals, have always bean susceptible to deafness, in varying degrees. However, in recent years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the incidence of auditory impairment worldwide. The condition affects people of all ages, and can be attributed to a variety of causes. For instance, from around the late thirties, the mere act of aging will, in many cases, tend to be accompanied by a slow deterioration in auditory acuity – a condition known as presbycusis.
Tailored Ear Protection to Combat NIHL in the Mining Industry
Some of the most alarming statistics of the 21st century are those relating to the steady increase in the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL. This condition was once relatively uncommon outside of the workplace, but urban living, with its constant cacophony of traffic and construction noise, combined with a modern lifestyle in which rock concerts, discotheques and mobile music players abound, has led to a gradual expansion of the previous demographic to include people of all ages and from all walks of life. Legislation to protect the general public from such excesses is slow in materialising, but the provision of ear protection by employers for those required to work in environments where noise levels consistently exceed 85 decibels is now a well-established legal requirement in South Africa.