TOOLBOX TALKS Hearing Protection

TOOLBOX TALKS
Hearing Protection
Toolbox Talks are intended to facilitate health and safety discussions.
For additional Toolbox Talks, please visit http://www.ehs.iastate.edu/shops
General Information:
Discussion Date:
______________
Supervisor:
When you are exposed to loud noises over long periods of time, you are at an
increased risk of losing your ability to hear. Once the nerves of the inner ear
are destroyed or damaged from exposure to excessive noise, the damage is
permanent. It does not matter where you are exposed to excessive loud
noise – it can occur at work, at home, or at play. Power tools, recreational
equipment, musical bands or headphones can all generate excessive noise.
________________________
Participants:
How to Reduce Sound Levels:
 Sound is additive. Reducing the number of noise sources will reduce
exposure to noise.
 Sound levels can sometimes be reduced by installing sound
absorption materials or by reducing the amount of vibration of
equipment.
Types of Hearing Protection Devices:
Never use cotton, stereo headsets, or other makeshift hearing
protectors. They do not protect your ears from noise. Use one of the
following:

Earplugs: Insert into the ear canal to seal out noise. Be sure to follow
the manufacturer’s instructions. They may be disposable or reusable.
DISPOSABLE
S
RE-USABLE

Earmuffs: Earmuffs are the best protectors. They have a headband
with cushioned plastic cups that cover each ear. However, they may
feel bulky or uncomfortable in hot weather.
Environmental Health and Safety
www.ehs.iastate.edu
515-294-5359
©2017
2408 Wanda Daley Drive

Canal Caps: Cover and seal the ear canal entrance with soft flexible pads on a lightweight headband.
Though comfortable, they provide the least protection.

Earmuffs and Earplugs: In combination may be needed in some high-noise areas.
Allowable Exposure Limits:
Noise
Level
85 dB
Allowable Exposure
Time
16 hours
90 dB
8 hours
95 dB
4 hours
100 dB
2 hour
105 dB
1 hour
110 dB
30 minutes
115 dB
15 minutes or less
Sound Comparison Chart:
Noise Source
Hearing
Protection
Needed
Breathing
Rustling leaves
Bird calls
Normal
conversation
Vacuum cleaner
Decibel
Level
10
20
40
55
Affects
Barely audible
1/8 as loud as 70 dB
1/2 as loud as 70 dB
70
85
Lawn mower
90
Farm tractor
Rock concert
100
115
Chain saw
120
Jet taking off
150
Light damage if exposed
for 8 hours
Painful, 32 times louder
than 70 dB
Eardrum rupture
Discussion Topics:
 What is the primary source of noise in your work area?
 What action can be taken to reduce the level of noise in your work area?
 Where can you find hearing protection and what type is available to you?
 Does your hearing protection properly fit?
Environmental Health and Safety
www.ehs.iastate.edu
515-294-5359
©2017
2408 Wanda Daley Drive
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