I work at a hospital and do maintenance. When I mow the lawn or run
the snowblower, I am REQUIRED to wear ear silencers. I find this not
only rediculous, but dangerous. If the mower blade hits a rock, I
cant even hear it. I have been mowing and running power equipment all
my life, and my hearing is fine. Or, at least my hearing WAS fine
until December 31. On December 31, it is mandatory that we change the
batteries in the smoke detectors in every room throughout the
hospital. That means every patient room, the hallways, the bathrooms,
even the janitor closet. Of course, changing the battery also means
testing the detectors. So here I was standing on a ladder with these
things blasting one foot from my ears, in a tiny closet. Room after
room I had to listen to this noise until I could barely hear anyone
talking, and this went on over half the day. I was not told by my
supervisor to wear ear protection, apparently it's not in the OSHA
book, which means it's not required.
My ears literally hurt after this......
While smoke detectors are a good thing to save lives in the event of a
fire, those saved may end up deaf.....
I am looking for facts and statistics about this. Anybody have any?
Next year, I will INSIST on wearing ear silencers, or will refuse to
do the job until I can wear them.....
Uh, OK -- a guy who thinks that wearing ear silencers while running a
leaf blower with the dB level of a small jet engine is ridiculous, but
yet he finds that anoying little peep-peep-peep of a smoke detector in a
closet deafening? Well, we humans just aren't a logical bunch, are we?
Be that as it may, any idiot who values his hearing wears ear protection
of some sort for any sustained-noise situation, be it using a circular
saw, hammering nails in planks, sitting at a NASCAR or Indy track,
blowing snow, or listening to ones wife or mother-in-law drone on
incessantly about something or another in the car. And unless you're one
of those naturally-insufferable jerks who like to make an issue out of
absolutely everything no matter how petty, I really don't think you
really need to do any protesting about wearing ear protection. Just buy
whatever ear plugs are suitable for the dB level, and just wear 'em. No
sense in making a big hairy scene about it.
Besides, actually hearing a rock you've run over with a lawn mower would
be the least of your problems compared to when it plows thru all that
meat and bone on your leg, or some bystander's skull, at about 100mph. I
would think that as a safety-conscious maintenance guy, you'd have the
foresight in the first place to make sure the lawn didn't have any rocks
laying about in the first place.
Write your congressman and DEMAND that all hospital smoke detectors be
HARD WIRED. That way- you would never have to test the batteries. You
might also suggest to your congressman that ALL smoke detectors should
plug into a wall outlet and contain a QUALITY RECHARGABLE battery. A
good rechargable battery will last TWENTY times longer than the
stinking piece of CRAP that should be OUTLAWED in a smoke
detector-known as the 9v chemical battery- which you can buy in the
dollar store and usually come right out of the box- FULLY DISCHARGED!
Smoke detectors that use 9V batteries come with instructions that say to
use *alkaline* ones, widely available in all kinds of places other than
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
I can't tell from the OP, but it's quite possible he was changing out the backup
batteries. Hard-wired without backup batteries (commercial or not) is just
asking from trouble. Probably against most codes, too.
In commercial buildings, I see hardwired smoke detectors. Also better
grade fluorescent light fixtures (which is something that I do have a beef
Hardwired smoke detectors for home use are available.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ear silencers? No such thing. Hearing protection lowers the amount of
sound reaching the eardrum but nothing will totally "silence" the
noise. Bone conduction alone will allow some hearing in those not
totally deaf to begin with. If you can't hear a mower hit a rock even
wearing hearing protection, you're already deaf.
My father-in-law also has used power equipment all his life and claims
his hearing is just fine. The fact that he's deaf as a post and
refuses to admit it is beside the point.
This guy has got to be a troll.
Also please note: The proper way to test a smoke detector is with
*smoke*! Hitting the little test button just tests the battery and the
buzzer, *not* the smoke sensor!
Here is a quick hearing test - speak to him when he is looking at you,
then again when he is looking away. Folks with noise induced hearing
loss read lips without even realizing it.
Lots of folks (includes most people over age 50, most people who have
worked in factories or used machinery) have noise induced hearing loss,
which occurs at higher frequencies first. Most evident - early on - by
having difficulty following conversation in a noisy room. Since high
frequencies are lost first, it may account for the fact that men can't
hear their wives but they can hear other men because the woman's voice
is higher pitch. It isn't ALL stubbornness or personality :o)
OSHA recommends use of more than one type of hearing protection for some
Reminds me of an old cartoon. Back in the heyday of component stereo
systems, Stereo Review (or similar) showed the front window of a store
having a sale on speakers with the slogan, "Senior Citizen Special: 500 -
5,000 Hz, Why waste money on useless frills?" It was funnier when I was
under 50. <g>
Even folks whose hearing is _perfectly_fine_ read lips without realizing it. I
became aware of this about ten years ago, when we hired a deaf guy where I
worked at the time. He can speak, somewhat, but not clearly (owing to being
totally deaf from birth). I was _amazed_ to discover how much more easily I
could understand his speech when I was looking directly at him. And there
isn't _anything_ wrong with my hearing; that's been confirmed at various times
by two different MDs and a certified audiologist.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss
Guy thought his wife was hard of hearing. He read a test in a magazine, and
decided to try it out. While she was washing dishes, across the room he
asked her "What's for dinner, hon?" and she didn't reply.
He walked a couple steps closer, and again asked what's for dinner. She
again didn't reply.
He walked closer still, and asked again. She again didn't reply.
He walked closer, so that he was nearly touching her. And asked a fourth
time. This time she turned around, looked him in the eye and said "For the
fourth time, dear, CHICKEN!!!!!"
Just wear ear plugs. Why do you need permission? I am VERY sensitive to noise
& even wore them during a fire drill in our bldg when we returned but the alarm
was still going off - it was set off by mistake to begin with. I wear them on
New Year's Eve, July 4th, concerts, even movies...yes, movies - for some reason
lately the movies are too loud - even for my husband, although he doesn't wear
ear plugs. I think the louder the noise we listen to the more we need louder
noise, etc. etc.
Use your head Fred. I always plug my ears when testing the detector. that
SOB is loud! A certain level of constant noise can hurt your hearing over
time. It don't take as much as many would think and the hearing loss is not
noticeable over a short period as it may take years with the lower levels.
Check OSHA. they may have chart in decibels.
I'd be surprised you still couldn't hear a rock being hit with hearing
protection on. It does not block all the sound. What difference does it make
if you hear the rock getting hit or not? The damage is done!.
I hope I don't have to tell you to see a doctor immediately. (No, he
doesn't have to be at your hospital.) Hearing injury this serious could
lead to permanent hearing loss.
Never heard of it, but the 85dB level mandated for many (most?)
detectors is very close to the 90dB level that can cause permanent loss
after 15 minutes of exposure.
I also suggest you do the testing with a broom handle. But you should
definitely contact an ear specialist so that you can document any
lasting effects, the sooner the better, and then secure a good workmen's
Since this is an employment issue, workmen's comp law will *probably* be
required rather than the usual liability torts. This means that
arbitration will be the method rather than lawsuit/settlement, and your
ability to secure compensation will be strictly limited by schedules of
injury and functionality (I don't think lost income will come into play
here, though). You also won't be subject to joint-and-several liability
issues or, as I understand it, any judgement regarding your percentage
of personal responsibility [for not voluntarily protecting your own
ears, or standing so close to the horn], but I could be wrong.
I would also suggest contacting OSHA, probably after consulting with
your attorney, so that they can add to their database of
recommendations. A recent NYT series documented their failures to really
prosecute even repeat offenders, going back years and years, so I
wouldn't expect them to go to bat for you. But you could think of others
down the road.
For what? To tell them he is too dumb to wear hearing protection? Does the
supervisor have to tell him to wipe his ass after taking a dump?
If you know you have sensitivity to noise, you know you will be testing
alarms, you go get hearing protection. The guy needs an infusion of common
sense. Why should society pay for his stupidity? If the supervisor told
him NOT to wear hearing protection, that would be reason to complain. He
has to have some responsibility for his own well being. It only takes a few
second to put plugs in your ears or put on the muffs.
The OP is terminally stupid. OSHA will be of no help to him.
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