Protection against loud noises is very important within a work environment.
The industrialization did it. Our world used to be a quiet place, where occasional noises alerted local inhabitants that someone or something is coming. Currently, if you live in a city, you can’t hear the doorbell if your TV is blasting, your kid is running the stereo on loudspeakers, your window is opened and urban noises are seeping in and one of your washing or drying machines is running. Doorknockers are obsolete. Due to all the noise all around us, it is a wonder that we hear anything at all. Imagine now you work in one of the factories, where machines do all the work; without industrial ear plugs, you can kiss your hearing goodbye. Luckily, the employers are required to distribute bulk ear plugs to their employees.
But it was not an easy win for the near deaf employees. It required a dozen of class action lawsuits to impose the regulation on the penny pinching boards of directors, who in their comfy chairs upstairs did not have a noise problem and if they did, they sound proofed the offices. Who cares about the peasants getting deaf? Well, the courts did and therefore nowadays the law requires the distribution of bulk ear plugs, for hearing protection purposes. These industrial ear plugs are really good and the development of hearing protection devices has gone a long way, since the usage of wax to block the ear canal was the only option. On one hand, the industrialization provided the noise, on the other, it provided the solution for the noise as well.
The production of such bulk ear plugs has become so cheap, because the materials used are almost similar to foam. The chemical compound is made out of pretty inexpensive materials, therefore disposable industrial ear plugs are sold in amounts of thousands in huge packages at bargain prices. Wherever such loud machines are deployed, for instance in food packaging, automated assembly lines, actually on every location where the constant noise surpasses the 70dB ratio deemed damaging if imposed for a prolonged amount of time, it is necessary to wear ear protection devices.
Same goes not only for factories, but for road workers, like the guy with a jack hammer, he needs to wear industrial ear plugs or even stronger hearing protection devices by law. If you are a passerby, walking next to a place where the road is being fixed, and you do not have bulk ear plugs handy, it’s just your bad luck if your hearing gets damaged. Interestingly enough, in music business, there is no obligation for the employer to supply hearing protection devices for any of the employed personnel. Although roadies and stage crew can be subject to terribly loud music and other sounds, like feedback, if they did not have the good sense of picking up some protection on their own, it will be their own fault if they go deaf. This will change in the foreseeable future, because some major lawsuits are underway.