Australasian Mining Review

Australasian Mining Review Summer 2011

Australasian Mining Review

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61 [Don’t risk hearing loss} shape of a golf tee without inducing creasing. While the plugs are compressed, insert it well into the ear canal and hold it there while it begins to expand. Fitting is easier if you reach around the head and pull the ear outward and upward during insertion. Some earplugs can be washed in warm soapy water and reused, however do not re-use plugs that are cracked, hard or do not readily expand to their original size. If the plug bends, creases or deforms during insertion, remove it, reform it and then re-insert it. When fitted correctly, the outer edge of the earplug should be flush with or slightly inside the Tragus with at least half of the plug being inside the ear canal. A rough test of whether an earplug is inserted correctly can be applied by cupping your hands over your ears while listening to a steady noise. If the plugs are fitted correctly, the noise levels should be almost the same whether or not you are covering your ears. Earmuffs must fully enclose the ears and seal against the head. Adjust the headband so that the cushions exert an even pressure around the ears making sure that hair is pulled back from under the cushions. If you wear glasses, make sure that you choose earmuffs that have deep soft cushions that will mould around the stem of the glasses to form a firm fit against your head. At what noise level should I use hearing protection? As a guide, a motor mower is about 80dBA and this is about the threshold above which a person with no auditory problems must protect themselves, particularly as the duration of the exposure lengthens. The higher the level of sound, the shorter the time that you can be exposed before damage occurs. Someone who has tinnitus should always protect themselves from sounds of 80 - 85dBA or above. It is better to err on the side of safety and protect your ears in all situations that you think may exacerbate your tinnitus; such as using a power tool, hammer, mowing the lawn, a noisy vacuum cleaner etc. The few seconds that it may take to put on a set of ear muffs may save you many hours of discomfort. Australasian Mining Review 2011: issue 2.1

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