How to Be Heard

Every plant manager I’ve met in my career values the well-being of their employees over all else, so I have no doubt the safety team is on board with whatever needs to be done here — and if you can prevent a listening problem, you can likely prevent a hearing problem.

Mnet 114486 Anna Wells Lead

This article first appeared in IMPO's April 2013 issue.

Most of the time, my dog puts his training to good use, and listens to me when I call. However, it’s when something particularly enticing grabs his attention that he becomes a little less “aware.” Thank goodness there are no pizza-delivering, firefighting rabbits in our neighborhood, or I’d spend my entire day chasing him. When we first adopted Omar from a Chicago-based rescue organization, we thought he might have a slight hearing problem. Nine months later, I’ve come to realize we’re contending with more of a listening problem than a hearing problem.

I was interested to learn a little more about the relationship between listening and hearing at a recent seminar at the Grainger show in Orlando. The focus of this presentation was not on eliminating noise, rather, addressing the ways those affected could greatly reduce or eliminate the resulting damage that came with the prolonged exposure to high volumes.

The speaker, an audiologist for a hearing protection manufacturer, gave the crowd of attendees a free hearing lesson, before terrifying us with some data around hearing loss, including the troubling fact that much of the hearing damage that results from prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 dBs occurs in a painless fashion, meaning the damage is taking place before the subject even realizes.

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