3M "Hearing Pledge" Aims to Silence World's Most Common Sensory Disability

Social campaign aims to prevent noise-induced hearing loss

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For an estimated 275 million people around the world, “What?” is an all too common question. That’s because these individuals have disabling hearing loss, many due to excessive noise both on and off the job.

“Hearing loss is the number one sensory disability in the world – yet it is also one of the most preventable,” said Laurie Wells, senior acoustics specialist, 3M.

To help people avoid noise-induced hearing loss, 3M has launched a social campaign called the “Hearing Pledge,” which aims to educate people on how to detect and help protect them from hazardous noise. By taking the pledge at www.hearingpledge.com, people can commit to wearing hearing protection when exposed to noise in excess of 85 decibels (dB). Prolonged exposure to sounds louder than 85 dB can damage your ears and lead to permanent hearing loss and other symptoms.

People can also share the pledge site with friends and family. Those who pledge can opt to enter a giveaway, with prizes such as an iPod touch mobile digital device and sound control earbuds.

Noise and other sounds that exceed 85 dB come from numerous activities, like at work in a noisy assembly line or warehouse; or at home when mowing the lawn, using power tools or listening to music; or when watching fireworks or attending a football game. For many people, constant exposure to excessive noise is part of the job description. A few workplace environments where hazardous noise is common include manufacturing, assembly, farming, military, oil and gas, transportation, entertainment, mining and construction sites.

“Many workers choose to go without hearing protection because of discomfort or inconvenience,” said Wells. “This can lead to permanent hearing loss, as well tinnitus – constant ringing, buzzing or whistling in the ear – and a myriad of other effects like sleep disturbance, hypertension, anxiety and stress. That’s why raising awareness of the hearing-loss epidemic and preventative measures is so important.”

Check out the latest industry statistics on hearing loss and the employment of people with disabilities: https://www.box.com/s/38174a762f1a09f95763

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