Hear That?

Noise is a potential hazard during our daily task, whether at our facilities, out in the field or even at home. Repetitive, excessive noise causes long-term hearing problems, can be a dangerous distraction, and has been a noted contributing factor in accidents. 

Wachs has documented high noise areas within our facilities and issued appropriate and effective PPE. However, when working on project sites there may be times where the noise levels are unknown.  In these situations, the benchmark for applying hearing protection is the 2-to-3-foot rule: Stand about an arm’s length away from your coworker: If you have to raise your voice to be heard 2-3 feet away, you should assume that the sound level is at or above harmful levels.  While Wachs uses both earplugs and earmuffs, this bulletin will focus on proper use of foam ear-plugs.

To wear foam earplugs properly (and comfortable) here are the advised 3 steps from NIOSH: 


Roll the earplug up into a small, thin "snake" with your fingers. You can use one or both hands. 


Pull the top of your ear up and back with your opposite hand to straighten out your ear canal. The rolled-up earplug should slide right in. 


Hold the earplug in with your finger. Count to 20 or 30 out loud while waiting for the plug to expand and fill the ear canal. Your voice will sound muffled when the plug has made a good seal. 



Earplugs inserted wrong are not effective and can give a false sense of protection, proper fit is key.

Once you have inserted the earplug, you will hear and feel it expand to fill the canal.  If you are not used to wearing ear-plugs this can be an odd, initially uncomfortable feeling, however, it should not be painful.   

Our earplugs are disposable, once you remove them from your ears ONLY reuse if the foam is clean and free from damage, otherwise get a new, clean pair.  


For more on Hearing Loss Prevention, please see this edition of Wachs Weekly!