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Your Concerns Are Literally Falling On Deaf Ears

, , , , , , | Working | November 8, 2021

The factory is a noisy, dirty environment. Thankfully, these days, companies understand the need for personal protective equipment. We use large over-the-ear ear defenders. You can still hear, but the sound is reduced. It does make working with others difficult at times.

I approach a coworker; we’re both wearing ear defenders.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker].”

He is completely oblivious.

Me: “[COWORKER]!”

He’s still somehow oblivious. I go over and quickly grab his arm, and he jumps. 

Me: “[Coworker], man, are you deaf? I was shouting at you.”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “Your jacket was dancing over the mechanism; it could have gotten caught.”

Coworker: “Oh, thanks, man.”

He does his jacket up.

Me: “Have you got earplugs in, as well?”

Coworker: “I can’t hear you; let me turn this off.”

He reaches into his pocket and turns his music off. It’s then that I notice the black earphone cord running up inside his jacket.

Me: “What have you done there?”

Coworker: “Oh, I wanted to listen to music, but I couldn’t with these ear defenders on, so drilled a hole for the wire.”

He looks so pleased with himself.

Me: “That doesn’t seem smart. Doesn’t that stop them from working?”

Coworker: “Well, yeah, but I just turn the music up loud.”

In an effort to listen to music, he destroyed his hearing protection and then listened to music at a high volume for seven or eight hours a day, certainly damaging his hearing more than he would have without the protection. Not only that, but he couldn’t hear any warnings, vehicle horns, or fire alarms.

He wouldn’t listen to me, so I had to report it. They gave him a new pair of ear defenders, but he later ripped out the protection so he could wear wireless earphones.

Again, he got caught and was made to pay for the replacement and had a written warning for damaging protection equipment. In response, he did the most grownup thing and quit because he would rather be unemployed than not listen to music.

That was probably inadvertently a smart move on his part, as he was an accident waiting to happen.

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