Noise induced deafness prevention
What is noise-induced deafness?
Noise-Induced Deafness is a condition where there is a permanent loss in hearing sensitivity in someone. This can lead to communication difficulties or problems, social isolation and a serious drop in one’s quality of life. Noise-Induced Deafness is caused by prolonged exposure to excessive noise generated by the different industrial processes and work activities. When Noise-Induced Deafness happen at a workplace, the Ministry of Manpower must be notified as it is compensable under the Work Injury Compensation Act.
Working in a Noisy Environment?
These are some steps to follow if you’re working in a noisy environment. Follow these steps to prevent noise-induced deafness and always remember that prevention is always better.
- Identify the source of noise and report machine breakdown
Identify the areas with excessive noise levels and ensure that all the workers who are working or interacting in these areas have gone through periodic audiometric examinations. By someone who has gone through a course of training in audiometric screening acceptable to the level for WSH.
Identify areas with the excessive noise level and make sure that any worker who is new in the area is certified to be fit for work in that area by a DWD within three months after the date he started work.
- Wear your earplugs correctly
Non-disposable or reusable earplugs are made of silicone, rubber or plastic and they come in various shapes and sizes to various ear canal size of humans. Ensure that you provide a variety of earplugs in different sizes to suit the different ear canal of the workers.
Ear plugs are suitable for the Singapore environment as they are more comfortable in hot and humid work areas, however, they are more difficult to insert and remove so staffs should be properly brief on how to put on the ear plus.
- Wearing the correct Personal Protection Equipment for different noise level
Ensure that everyone is wearing the correct Personal Protection Equipment according to the noise exposure level that they are working with.
The table below will show what’s the correct equipment for each noise exposure level, so do use the table as a reference when issuing Personal Protection Equipment for staff.
|Noise Exposure Level||Choice of hearing protectors|
|85 db(A) – 100 db(A): noisy||ear plug or ear muff|
|above 100 db(A): very noisy||ear plugs and ear muffs|
- Providing proper care for hearing protectors
Please ensure that all personal protection equipment is working well and not worn out or torn. Ensuring that all personal protection equipment is of working condition is essential to preventing noise-induced deafness.
Remember to clean and rinse ear pugs well with warm water and keep them in the case provided by the manufacturer so to keep the shape and form of the earplugs. Wipe the cushion of the ear muffs with a damp cloth when soiled and throw away any ear muffs that are worn-out or torn.
- Observe warning signs
When entering any area do take note of any warning signs around. If there’s a warning sign which says “hearing protection must be worn in this area”, do only enter the area if you have the correct personal protective hearing equipment on. Do not enter the area if you’re unsure of the correct personal protective hearing equipment to wear.
If unsure, check with the supervisor or safety officer present.