On the jobsite, it’s absolutely vital for construction workers to be aware of their surroundings. However, what often comes with having situational awareness is the threat of hearing damage. Because hearing protection restricts one’s ability to be fully aware of their surroundings, many workers don’t wear it properly, or don’t wear it at all.
Workers shouldn’t have to compromise situational awareness in the name of certified hearing protection. That being said...what if there was a way to hear the sounds you need to hear, and block the sounds you don’t?
Keep scrolling to understand why construction workers need hearing protection and situational awareness, and how new technology is helping workers achieve both.
Hearing Protection on the Jobsite
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hearing damage can occur after 8-hours of exposure to noise levels above 85 dB. When noise is above 100 dB, it can take as little as one hour per day to permanently damage your hearing.
Wondering how loud your jobsite really is? Let’s take a closer look at some common noises you might be exposed to on a daily basis:
- Hammer on nail: 100+ dB
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, graders, excavators): 105+ dB
- Jackhammer: 110+ dB
- Nail gun: 120+ dB
The list goes on and on, but the point is this: without protection, continued exposure to tools such as these will result in permanent hearing damage.
Situational Awareness on the Jobsite
By definition, situational awareness is ‘the perception of the environment with respect to time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and projection of their future status.’ In other words, situational awareness means knowing what’s going on around you.
While hearing protection is important, situational awareness is just as crucial to achieve optimal construction site safety. On any given day, construction workers may need to hear warning signals, approaching vehicles, commands given by team members, and more. Without situational awareness, you’re at serious risk for dangers you didn’t see, hear, or sense coming.
Hearing Protection + Situational Awareness
By design, safety products (such as hearing protection) significantly reduce dangerous environmental noises that surround you. Yet, depending on your environment, this positive benefit sometimes comes with reduced situational awareness, potentially impacting your overall safety on the construction site. Seems counterintuitive, right?
Well, what if you could have both? Believe it or not, there’s a way you can simultaneously protect your hearing and be aware of your surroundings on the jobsite.
Technology to improve situational awareness is evolving each day. If you work in environments with loud impulse noises (like nail guns, hammers, or gunfire), you’d probably benefit from hearing protection with active listening technology.
The brand-new ISOtunes Aware Technology works by amplifying the sounds you want to hear, and reducing the sounds you don’t. This level-dependent technology lets you amplify the sounds in your environment up to 8x their natural frequencies, meaning you can communicate with colleagues or listen for warning signals at or above typical hearing thresholds. At the same time, when Aware Technology senses a harmful noise, it reduces the sound to a safe level in less than 2 milliseconds. Once the harmful noise has ended, you can resume hearing the world around you at a comfortable listening level.
For construction workers or anyone else in environments with loud impulse noises, situational awareness is just as vital as hearing protection. Not only does active listening technology increase worker safety, but it can contribute to overall workplace productivity and satisfaction.
To learn more about how ISOtunes Aware Technology can improve your construction site safety, click here.