Hearing Conservation Program & Resources
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Every year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise. Fortunately, the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss can be reduced or eliminated through the successful application of engineering controls and hearing conservation programs.
Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects, it usually develops over a long period of time, and, except in very rare cases, there is no pain. What does occur is a progressive loss of communication, socialization, and responsiveness to the environment.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the occupational safety and health community named hearing loss one of the 21 priority areas for research in the next century. Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable but once acquired, hearing loss is permanent and irreversible. Therefore, prevention measures must be taken by employers and workers to ensure the protection of workers' hearing.