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    Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 47.

    August 22, 2019

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 47:
    Impulse Noise Hearing Protection.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 44:
    Fall Protection - Engineered Systems.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 44:
    Fall Protection - Engineered Systems.


    In this episode Ted Madison, 3M’s former Technical Services Specialist for the Personal Safety Division in the U.S.A. joins us to discuss impulse noise hearing protection.

    Some of the most dangerous sounds that can contribute to hearing loss are some of the brief noises we hear. These sounds, known as impulse noises are very short, less than one second long, tiny bursts of noise that can be quite loud such as gunfire, an explosion, or the pop of pneumatic nail gun. Very loud impulse noises can cause both mechanical and metabolic damage to the sensory cells in the inner ear, under these conditions the proper selection, fit and use of hearing protection is critical.




    Guest Bio:

    Ted Madison (pictured left) is an Audiologist and former Technical Service Specialist at 3M, who provided technical support, education and training in hearing loss prevention and hearing protection. He is also a CAOHC-certified course director at the University of Minnesota.

    Ted served as President of National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) in 2004- 2005. He received the NHCA Outstanding Leadership Award in 2008 and its Outstanding Lecture Award in 2002. Ted is a member of the AIHA Noise Committee, a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology.

    When time allows, he brings his passion for hearing loss prevention into the classroom as a Dangerous Decibels™ educator, teaching young people about the joys of hearing and encouraging them to make healthy hearing choices.

    LinkedIn Profile


    In this episode, Mark & Ted discuss the following:

    • What is impulse noise and how does it cause damage to a person’s hearing?
    • How does this differ to continuous noise in relation to how the damage is caused to an individual?
    • Where would a worker likely be exposed to impulse noises?
    • When assessing the risks associated with impulse noise and the immediate damage it may cause, what controls should a workplace be considering?
    • How effective are hearing protective devices against impulse noise?
    • Is there a difference between wearing earplugs and earmuffs?
    • Is this still the same case with electronic level-dependant hearing protection devices that may be commonly used in workplaces shooting ranges?
    • Is dual protection, when earplugs are worn in conjunction with earmuffs, something workplaces should consider?
    • How much does the fit of the hearing protection device affect the attenuation achieved?
    • What impact does wearing safety glasses, goggles, beanies, and/or respirators have on the attenuation of the earmuff to protect against impulse noise?
    • Where can listeners get more information on Impulse noise hearing protection, hearing protection and managing noise in the workplace?

    As with all hearing protectors, the key is proper use and fit. When properly selected and worn according to the user instructions, hearing protection devices help reduce exposure to both continuous and impulse noises. Workers who are exposed to high-level impulse noise should be enrolled in a hearing conversation program to assess their risk, control exposures and monitor their health. Exposure to impulse noise can lead to several detrimental health effects including hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis (abnormal sensitivity to loud sounds) as well as non-auditory effects such as hypertension, fatigue and other stress-related conditions. Tune in as we explore the variety of factors that affect the hazardousness of impulse noise and the solutions available to ensure the required level of protection is achieved.


    Additional Resources:

    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information.