Every year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise. Fortunately, the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss can be reduced or eliminated through the successful application of engineering controls and hearing conservation programs.
Removing hazardous noise from the workplace through engineering controls (e.g. installing a muffler or building an acoustic barrier) is the most effective way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing protectors such as ear plugs and ear muffs should be used when it is not feasible to otherwise reduce noise to a safe level. Hearing loss prevention programs are required for all workplaces with hazardous levels of noise. These programs should include noise assessments, engineering controls, audiometric monitoring of workers' hearing, appropriate use of hearing protectors, worker education, record keeping, and program evaluation.
The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hearing hazards and provide possible solutions for these hazards.