For Maximum Hearing Protection, Only Custom-Made Earplugs are EffectiveApart from using them as a means of hearing protection, there are other sound reasons why an individual may choose to wear earplugs. One of the most common of these is simply to get a good night’s sleep. Many of those who live in noisier areas, who have a partner with a snoring habit, or who are simply light sleepers, often find that they are sufficient to exclude most external sounds, thus making it easier for them to drop off to sleep, and to prevent being re-awakened by every creak or rattle.
Some swimmers may also choose to wear them to prevent the entry of water into their ears. This can also serve to protect against the possibility of an aural infection. In this case, a snug fit is important to prevent leakage, and this is usually achieved with a product made from a material that, with warmth and a little pressure, can be moulded until its shape more closely resembles the natural contours of the wearer’s ears. Typically, products intended for the purposes mentioned are short-lived and disposable.
For a solution that is both more efficient and durable, especially where protection from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) may be their prime purpose, custom-made earplugs are the only sensible choice. Sustained exposure to sounds of 85 decibels or above has long been known to cause irreversible damage to the tiny hair cells that line the cochlea and are responsible for stimulating the auditory nerve. The damage is cumulative, and so it worsens during each subsequent exposure, with the result that marked auditory impairment can become apparent quite quickly.
While lawnmowers and food processors at 90dB to 95dB pose a possible threat in the home, risks in the workplace can be far greater. For example, ground crew working in close quarters of jet aircraft under power could face a 150dB onslaught, while a construction worker will typically be subjected to around 110dB when operating a jackhammer. One may perhaps get a better idea of the potential dangers when considering that it takes no more than a minute and a half of exposure to 110dB before there is a risk of permanent damage, and that just one solitary exposure to 140dB, for instance, by a firecracker, is enough to initiate it. Under the terms of the Occupation Health and Safety Act of 1993 and its subsequent amendments, in addition to its other provisions, employers in South Africa are now legally required to provide hearing protection for all of their workers whose jobs are considered to carry a risk of NIHL. For such purposes, earplugs can be both a highly efficient and cost-effective choice when they are custom made to fit both ears of each employee who is considered to be at risk.
A specialist and industry leader in this field, Hass Industrial (Pty) Ltd, offers a range of products and services designed to address the needs of workers at risk of NIHL which, despite best efforts worldwide, continues to remain one of the most prevalent forms of occupational infirmities. Much of the reason for this apparent failure, however, lies not with legislation or the compliance of the employer, but with the quality of available products which, to be effective, should shield the wearer from danger, yet not interfere with his or her ability to communicate freely as required. This, in turn, requires a unit that combines the most efficient materials with the most effective design. With its Noise-Ban range, Hass Industrial has achieved precisely that. However, to ensure that it delivers a long-term solution to the problem of NIHL, the company also backs the effective hearing protection provided by its custom-made earplugs with a comprehensive management programme that starts with an assessment of each client’s particular needs.
The assessment phase includes a determination of actual noise exposure levels and audiometric screening of all workers who are exposed to them, and continues with an explanation of the proposed solution, the implementation process and recommendations with regards to the training of staff and campaigns to raise awareness. When ready to proceed, following and aural examination, impressions are made of each ear and used in the manufacturing process to tailor a perfect fit.
Currently, world-class hearing protection is offered by the company’s iconic Noise-Ban range of three high-quality earplug products, each manufactured in compliance with ISO 9001:2015 and custom made for maximum safety under the prevailing workplace conditions.