The right ear protection for you
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Why to protect this human sense

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Introduction

Our sense of hearing is precious, yet we seldom think about what a fantastic sensory organ our ear actually is. Our ability to communicate with friends, listening to music, or experiencing a child´s first laughter is something we take for granted. Unfortunately, for a significant part of the population, this ability is partially or entirely lost, because of exposure to loud noise. Hearing loss cannot be restored but avoiding damage to your hearing is in most cases a matter of choosing the proper protection. Noise is one of the most common yet under rated health risks in the workplace. As much as every fourth work related injury is noise related. Many people exposed to harmful noise levels on a daily basis, never or seldom wear proper protection. The problem is often ignored, since hearing damage rarely cause physical pain. The risk for permanent injury is therefore significant. Typical work environments where noise levels are above safe limit are pulp and paper, construction, mining, forestry and gardening, agricultural, airport crew and most types of industry work. Recent researches have even documented harmful noise levels in preschools.

The EAR

The human ear is a fascinating and very sensitive organ. It consists of several small parts that together bring us our wonderful sense of hearing. When a sound wave enters our outer ear, it is lead into the ear canal, hitting the micro thin eardrum which starts to vibrate in sync with the sound waves. These vibrations then create a mechanical reaction involving three small bone parts, – the Hammer, the Anvil and the Stirrup. The Stirrup is attached to the Stapedius-muscle, which in turn react to the signals by pumping fluids inside the inner ear. The inner ear has a multitude of fine hair cells, which react to the flowing and starts a chemical reaction. In this process, small electrical impulses are transmitted to the brain, which we interpret as sound.

From our industrialized society, we are exposed to a lot of noises, many of them greatly mismatched to our fine hearing. By exposing the ear to high levels of noise, the small hair cells of our inner ear get damaged. They become puffy and lose their elasticity. Over time, hair cells will die and hearing loss occur.