Approximately two million workplace injuries are documented every year. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying objects or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a much more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently unnoticed. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to ignore. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s just part of aging” or “It’s a temporary issue”. This isn’t unusual.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are some significant steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged with sustained exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum cleaner. A lawnmower produces 85 dB. A chainsaw or leaf blower generates more than 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? Over time, your hearing can be damaged if you’re regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant.
Symptoms of Hearing Injury
If you work in a noisy environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- Your friends and family tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are working with the most recent technology to decrease workplace noise in overly loud settings. Workplace noise will be minimized as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
Employees are coming forward as they become mindful of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. In time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Protecting your ears before they become damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Using protective earmuffs or earplugs on the job will help minimize potential damage.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination as soon as possible if you think a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. You will discover how to counter additional damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and formulate strategies to help you counter any additional damage.