Noise-induced hearing loss in oil and gas workers

March 26, 2019 Lucas McCallum

Why it happens and how you can help prevent it.


Canadian workers in the oil and gas industry are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in alarming numbers.


201745%33%2012

According to hearing loss data collected by employers across the country in 2017, 45% of Canadian oil and gas workers experienced NIHL, compared with 33% of workers in 2012. Even more shocking: of the 294 oil and gas workers with NIHL, 65% of them were under the age of 35.1

Why is this happening?

98%94%

While the number of workers with NIHL in this sector has increased, the percentage of workers who report wearing a hearing protection device is actually higher, increasing from 94% to 98%. Most of these workers tend to use foam earplugs for hearing protection.

65%294workerswith NIHL35YRS<

Why is there an increased rate of NIHL with increased use of earplugs?

  • Earplugs might be the wrong size

  • Earplugs could be inserted or worn incorrectly

  • Earplugs might not be worn for long enough

  • Earplugs may not provide enough protection for noise exposure


How to prevent NIHL in oil and gas workers

Training

Show workers proper technique for how to wear hearing protection, including earmuffs, and proper earplug insertion.

Selection

Ensure workers have access to an adequate supply of earplugs — generally offering 3-5 different types of earplugs is ideal.

Fit Testing

Validate the fit of earplugs and earmuffs, and ensure they are providing proper protection.

Evaluation

This should be ongoing to ensure workers are happy and the earplug fit is working.

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Click here to learn more about how to protect workers from NIHL and to get a free demo of our fit-testing machine.

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