Theresa Y. Schulz / PhD. Lt. Col. USAF (ret.)

Of all the sounds that will delight and assail us tomorrow on Thanksgiving, what's the one that best defines the holiday for you?

Noise-induced hearing loss is painless and often remains unnoticed by the worker until it is too late.
 

If hearing protection is not convenient, workers won’t use it. Do everything to remove those barriers. For example: For workers who travel, make ear plugs and ear muffs available in the vehicle – but  also provide corded ear plugs, banded hearing protection or multiple-position ear muffs that can be worn around the neck – so they’re handy all the time. 

For the last few years, my New Year's Resolution has been to not make phone calls while I’m driving.  While I improve each year, I’ve still not been a complete success with that resolution. 

OSHA has placed new emphasis on this issue and I’ll be making the resolution to listen to that good advice.  

Demonstrating the future risks of noise-induced hearing loss is especially important for younger workers. There are a host of free materials designed to reach younger people about the value of their hearing and raise awareness of the risk and consequences of noise-induced hearing loss. The NIOSH Hearing Loss Simulator is a free program that allows demonstrations of speech and other sounds with varying degrees of hearing loss. The program is fully customizable so that you can input

Most people don’t often think about how their hearing is of value to them. We all tend to take hearing for granted. Our hearing is “on” 24/7. It is the sense that alerts us to danger. What sense alerts us to someone is breaking into our home while we’re sleeping or to a baby crying? Your hearing! It is an important sense in many ways. 

Ludwig van Beethoven said, "Forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands.

I noticed in the March 1, 2010,  issue of Time magazine a summary of studies discussed in an article by Martin Lindstrom in which brain activity, sweat response, pupil dilation and facial muscles were used to measure emotion in response to various sounds.

The researchers were doing "neuromarketing research" to determine how sounds effect our emotions which in turn effect how we buy.

After years of earplug fitting, I've recently come to the realization that each ear can benefit from individual fitting instruction. Ear canals are different enough that we need to not only determine which earplug(s) work well in that ear but that how the earplug is inserted makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of the protection. 

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