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Why can’t daddy hear me anymore?

hearing protection ear defenders

Why Cant’ Daddy Hear me?

50% of Workers Don’t Wear Hearing Protection​

A recent study by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) shows that more than half of workers who are exposed to hazardous noise on the job don’t consistently use hearing protection

Hearing loss can be gradual or sudden but constant exposure to occupational noise WILL damage your hearing – probably permanently

I have noticed this too on the jobsites I work at. More often than not, this is because either the wrong PPE was provided or there were other issues. 

Recently I stopped a couple of workers who were standing beside a very noisy high pressure water jetting pump without hearing protection. 

Loss of Communications is a big factor

One was clearly using a radio to communicate with the water jetting team and the other was a standby person. 

After some discussion, it was clear that the operator could not hear the radio calls so he opted to take off his hearing protection so that he wouldn’t miss an important instruction from the water jetting team. 

He was clearly not issued with hearing protection that could also allow him to use radios

On the study mentioned above, it reviewed close to 40,000 worker responses to two US National Health Interview Survey’s carried out in 2007 and 2014


The findings show that more than 53% didn’t “always” or “usually” wear hearing protection. (see previous paragraph)

The study found that 90% of the results showing the highest prevalence of hearing protection nonuse were in the accommodation and food services business. 

Health care and social assistance were at 83%, and education services at 82%. Prevalence also was notably high in multiple industries in which occupational noise is a longstanding hazard, including agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (74%) and construction (52%).


Clearlythere is a need to overcome barriers to wearing hearing protection. 


This can be done by ensuring that workers have comfortable protection yet not blocking the ability hear speech and other important workplace signals, like alarms, noise signals from malfunctioning equipment and even the use of two-way radios.

Check out these options for noisy environments that need comms capability

In many industries, workers will need to maintain contact using two-way radios or other communication devices. 

The 3M Peltor (PELTOR 06710 WS LiteCom PRO III – Headband) headset provides both hearing protection and the ability for hands free VOX communication via a noise-cancelling waterproof microphone.  

This would have been ideal hearing protection for a team conducting high pressure water jetting activities.

The 3M WorkTunes Connect model (priced at a reasonable US$39) can connect via Bluetooth to a mobile phone. It includes an integrated microphone so you can make and take phone calls without removing the hearing protection. Pretty cool !


The only issue is that these do not have a noise cancelling feature on the mic, like the 3M Peltor model so that could get annoying. 

Another option, is to connect a set of wired ear bud headphones to the radio and feed under your ear defenders but the issue is that this will create a small gap under the headphones seal that can let in some noise. Not the best idea but may be OK for short term exposure.

For work environments that require EX (ATEX) rated communication equipment (like in a refinery or chemical plant). 


The usual approach is to communicate on two-way radios, however there are some very good ATEX rated smart phones with Bluetooth that can also be used in these environments.  


These have a bunch of other features and apps that can be used for inspections, incident investigation and a bunch of other practical uses. 

Ecom ATEX Phones

This way, you can insert a pair of wireless earbuds under your ear defenders and connect via Bluetooth to the phone for calls. 

I have used the Ecom ATEX phones and tablets in the past, and found them quite useful in the field. They do have Bluetooth capability as well as a range of other normal smart phone uses.

Great for photo taking too !

What does your work place use? If you want to know more about the Thai Law that is applicable to Management of OHS with regards to Heat, Light and Noise, see my most recent article. I break it down into easy to understand segments.

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