Test your hearing and find out how hearing loss happens

We are lose a little bit of our hearing as we get older but we also all know that really old man who can hear everything as well as that younger person who needs us to repeat everything.

How does hearing loss happen? Why do some people hear better than others? How do I test my hearing without spending a lot of money?

Check out this youtube video to test your hearing and to see what probably caused you to lose some of your hearing.


Shooting Earplugs for under $13.00? Yep!

Up till now if you wanted to protect your hearing and still be able to communicate at the shooting range, your only option used to be electronic earmuffs like the Tactical Pro which are well over $200.00 each. With the advent of the Moldex BattlePlug, that’s no longer the case.

For under $13.00 (no, it’s not a typo!), you can now get the Battleplug earplug.


BattlePlugs Impulse Earplugs

Moldex® BattlePlugs are an authorized hearing protector for use by soldiers and Department of the Army civilians.

Patented BattlePlugs use a unique filter built into the plug body to instantaneously reduce dangerous, sudden impulse noises (e.g. weapons fire) plus allow for easy communication and improved awareness in the cap open position – NRR 9dB.


  • Now an authorized hearing protector for use by soldiers and Department of the Army civilians.
  • Dual Mode Protection:
    – Open cap to hear commands and for loud
    blasts: NRR 9dB.
    – Closed cap for continuous/steady noise and impulse noise protection: NRR 24dB.
  • The louder the blast, the more noise reduction (in open position).
  • Cap is easy to open and close, in-ear.
  • Easy to see when cap is in open or closed mode.
  • Easy to clean.

wash and wear again

BattlePlugs can be washed and reused. Each pair comes with a Pocket-Pak® carrying case to keep them clean when not in use. The smooth shape slides easily into your pocket. No sharp edges.

complete system

Each bag contains a pair of BattlePlugs and a cord, Pocket-Pak carrying case, chain, and instructions.

Available in three sizes: small, medium and large.
NOTE – 80% of users will fit a medium, if you need a small or a large purchase the small or large replacement pods and switch them out.

Click here to purchase the BattlePlug earplugs

Try Howard Leight MAX and MAX Small Earplugs Today!



As the saying goes,
“One size earplug does not fit all size ears.”Howard Leight MAX UncordedIntroducing MAX Small. Howard Leight MAX Small Uncorded
Sometimes even the tightest rolled-down earplug won’t fit comfortably in the smallest of ear canals. Fitting ear canals of all shapes and sizes doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s why we created the MAX Small single-use earplug, delivering the same comfort as our flagship MAX, in a 20% smaller size.

Try both MAX and MAX Small on for size!
Click here to receive a complementary sample pack!



OSHA withdrawing proposed interpretation on occupational noise

In an effort to clarify the term “feasible administrative or engineering controls” which shows up in the noise standard, OSHA had published a document entitled “Interpretation of OSHA’s Provisions for Feasible Administrative or engineering controls” back in October. On January 19th they withdrew this interpretation.

From the news release on the OSHA website:

“Thousands of workers every year continue to suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. In 2008 alone, BLS reported more than 22,000 hearing loss cases, and Michaels emphasized that OSHA remains committed to finding ways to reduce this toll.

As part of this effort, the agency will:

  • Conduct a thorough review of comments that have been submitted in response to the Federal Register notice and of any other information it receives on this issue.
  • Hold a stakeholder meeting on preventing occupational hearing loss to elicit the views of employers, workers, and noise control and public health professionals.
  • Consult with experts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Initiate a robust outreach and compliance assistance effort to provide enhanced technical information and guidance on the many inexpensive, effective engineering controls for dangerous noise levels.”

You can read the complete press release on the OSHA website here.

3M Noise Indicator named a OH&S Product of the Year!

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that I don’t usually use my blog to “push product”. Every now and then a great product comes along, however, that I believe is a great product that would greatly benefit my readers. The 3M Noise Indicator is such a product. Obviously OH&S agrees with me as they’ve named it one of their products of the year. I’ve talked about it before but thought, as we come into the new year, that I would present it once again. Here it is!

The 3M™ Noise Indicator NI-100 alerts users to potentially dangerous noise levels, helping identify areas where hearing protection may need to be worn.

  • One of the most affordable options available for monitoring noise levels, with a durable, small, lightweight design.
  • Easy to use. Simply clip the Noise Indicator to a shirt or jacket. To turn on, press and hold button until double green/red light flashes.
  • Rechargeable battery that operates for up to 200 hours between charges.

Flashing Green
indicates noise level
is below 85 dBA.

Flashing Red
indicates noise level
is above 85 dBA and hearing
protection may be needed.

Unsafe Conditions – The Deadly Dozen # 10

10. Poor lighting, high noise levels.

Bill Cosby used to have a routine where he talked about the fact that his mind is in a battle with his body. He said that whenever he gets up in the middle of the night his hand reaches to the light switch but his brain stops his hand telling him that he doesn’t need the light. Meanwhile as he tells it, his toes are saying “No, turn on the light! Come on, please turn on the light!”.

As funny as he is to listen to when he delivers this routine, he makes a good point about the cause of accidents when environmental conditions (lighting, noise levels, etc… ) aren’t as they should be.

Poor lighting conditions keep us from properly seeing the hazards that we should. Even low lighting which we wouldn’t normally think of as “poor”, can hide dangers. When additional light is brought in workers will often realize how poor the lighting really was.

High noise levels keep us from hearing others. They also cause us to be “lulled” by the noise into not paying attention, into “zoning out” and not paying attention.

The Fix

Today’s fix is fairly straight forward. For low light, add light. Pay attention to the quality of the light as well. Full spectrum lighting not only illuminates better but also helps with moods by providing the same quality of light that outdoor lighting does.

For high noise levels, the fix is a little more complicated. The first step is, of course, to try to engineer the problem away (this is always the first step). Sound barriers, insulation, upgrading the equipment, moving the noisy equipment to a more remote location or isolating it completely should be explored first. Only when these measures have been exhausted should hearing protection be used. For more information on hearing protection (including making sure that you don’t over protect workers) check out our series on “The Basics of Hearing Protection“.

Audio/Visual Demo of Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Do yourself a favor. Do your kids a favor. Listen to this audio clip from HSE (Health and Safety Executive). The 4 minutes and 15 seconds that it takes to listen to the whole thing may save you from years and years of grief later on.

Recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 teenagers are losing their hearing (See the my blog post here). Let your kids and teens hear for themselves what it’s going to sound like if in 10, 20 or 30 years if they don’t turn that IPod down.

Then, if you’ve got their attention, try to get them (and yourself) to watch the short video clip that shows the “how” and “why” of hearing loss.

If you’ve got more time, you can explore the HSE website. There’s plenty there to dig into.

Start with the basics… Listen!

Safety doesn’t just happen, it’s a sustained culture that is learned and, like any learned behavior, it starts with listening.

Listening, however, doesn’t stop once you’ve learned what you need to learn (not that learning ever stops).

Listening is key when it comes to safety on the worksite. Most warning signals are auditory in nature and workers need to consistently be listening for any and all warning cries, back-up alarms, etc…

In order to listen attractively, you need to be alert which means being mentally aware and awake.

This means:

  • Getting enough sleep. Being drowsy and tired causes the mind to wander.
  • Not overeating. Blood drains from the brain in order to help digestion, leaving you drowsy.
  • No drugs or alcohol. This should go without saying but unfortunately we need to be reminded. This includes prescription drugs that might dull the senses. If you have a prescription, let the boss know and get reassigned if need be. Your life or someone else’s safety might be at stake
  • Hearing over-protection. This includes hearing protection with music. Hearing protection should only get you below the 85dB level, not block out all noise
  • Being aware of ventilation. Improper ventilation can be extremely dangerous because you don’t realize that you aren’t getting the right amount of oxygen; drowsiness and disorientation is the result.
  • Overconcentration on work. Some people are better than others at multitasking. Others get so focused on what they are doing that a herd of buffalos could stampede through the worksite without them noticing. If you are one of the latter, than you need to work on trying to stay aware of your environment.

Keep your ears open, a back-up signal, a cry of warning… let do little good if you don’t hear them!

Free Noise Related Downloads from Aearo

After providing us with audio files (See Wednesday’s Post) and video files (See yesterday’s blog), Aearo is also making available free a large selection of downloadable documents relating to noise hazards, hearing protection and sound measurements.

Especially fun (possibly a great document to post on the bulletin board) is the Noise Thermometer. Additionally, the Noise Navigator Database logs over 1700 noises.

The complete list, taken from the Aearo Website is listed below:


Noise Hazard


How loud is it? – (I) See our simplified noise thermometer



How loud is it? (II) The Noise Navigator® database of over 1700 noise sources.



How does noise cause hearing loss?



Gunfire – How dangerous is it to my hearing?



The ‘noise pill’ – Will it protect me from hearing loss?



Loud music, exercise, and its effects on hearing



Automotive airbags – Can their deployment cause hearing loss?



Is my personal music player (MP3) hurting my hearing?


Hearing Protection


Fit testing – how do I do this in the workplace?



PAR – What does this fit-testing rating mean?



Dual protection – What can I gain from wearing a plug and a muff together?



What type of hearing protector blocks out the most noise?



Air travel – Use of earplugs in airplanes



Children – Hearing Protection / Swim Protection



Comparing hearing protector ratings – NRR, SNR, SLC, and others



Tinnitus – Hearing protection recommendations



What does the caution statement on hearing protector packages about frequencies below 500 Hz and the use of “C-weighted environmental noise levels” mean?



Noise-cancellation earmuff – Is there a type that might help someone wearing hearing aids and working in noise?



Can any protector block all sound?



Foam earplugs – How long can I use them and can they be washed?



Foam earplugs – Who invented them and when were they introduced?



How much attenuation is lost by wearing hairnets or disposable protective hoods underneath my earmuffs?



Are custom earplugs the best fitting and protecting type of earplugs?

(105 KB)  


Do non-electronic “valve-type” earplugs like the Combat Arms earplug really work?

(335 KB)  

Sound, Sound Measurements, and General Topics


dBA and dBC? – What do these terms mean?



What criteria should a professional reviewer use to revise baseline audiograms when an STS is detected? (The attached guidelines from the NHCA are current, but are being reviewed for possible updating at this time.)



How do I correctly measure sound exposures from iPod® -like devices?



Can hearing aids bring my hearing back?



If you have additional questions that are not addressed here, please visit the Ask the Expert page.

Aearo Free Videos and a Free DVD

Yesterday, I gave you a link to the different Aearo Corporation’s free audio clips. Today I want to take you from audio to video.

Aearo has 5 different video clips available on their website too. The information below is straight from their website here:

1. Fitting Foam Earplugs (5 minutes)
This single–topic film is a clear demonstration, including animation, of how to fit foam earplugs. This includes many of the tips and tools described in print in the E•A•R® Instruction Booklet also found on this web site. This film is excellent to include with your annual training programs or to excerpt and insert in your own training videos or PowerPoint files.

(100 MB)    (Streaming)
(30 MB)  

2. Fitting Premolded and Push-Ins style earplugs (5 minutes each)
Like the fitting foam earplugs film above, each of these two single-topic films provides a clear demonstration, including animation, of how to fit the respective products. This includes many of the tips and tools described in EARLog #9 that can be downloaded from the EARLog page of this web site. These films can be included in your annual training programs or excerpted for your own training videos or PowerPoint files.

(100 MB)    (Streaming)
(100 MB)    (Streaming)

3. Auditory Transduction
With exciting 3-D animation and a dramatic classical sound track, this 7-min. video takes us on a trip through the ear to vividly explain how we hear. Auditory Transduction is definitely “best of breed” on the topic. Brandon Pletsch has given permission to 3M to post this video on our web site and YouTube. To learn more about this National Science Foundation award winning film, please go here: http://www.sciencemag.org/feature/data/vis2003/multi_first.html. You may contact Mr. Pletsch directly via his web site at www.radiusmedicalanimation.com.
(122 MB )     (Streaming)

4. Sound of Sound Excerpt (1 minute)
Three excerpts from steel workers who have suffered the angst of hearing loss and tinnitus due to noise provides glimpses of how it has affected their lives. Though the original film was produced in 1970, these excerpts from this award winning safety film1 present an emphatic and timeless message.

1The original film won the Highest Honors of the National Committee on Films for Safety, the Film Festival Award for Medicine and Health (24th Nat. Conf. Pub. Relations Society of America), and the Gold Medal of the International Film and TV Festival of New York.
(8 MB )     (Streaming)

5. Gear up for Safety (only available as DVD-see below)
An exciting video series to help train and motivate your employees on the merits and how-tos of hearing conservation; presented by hearing protection experts and top NASCAR Crew Chief, Jimmy Makar.

The Fitting Foam Earplugs and Gear Up for Safety programs are available on one DVD. To receive a free copy of the following video, contact our Customer Service by calling 800–225–9038.
Request product code 70–0715–7149–4.