Each year, around 2 million workplace injuries are reported. Normally, we think about a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But there is a much more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently unnoticed. Over several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to dismiss. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of growing older” or “It’s a temporary problem”. This is normal.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are several warning signs you should identify, and there are essential steps you need to take if you suspect the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be permanently damaged with regular exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A chainsaw or leaf blower generates more than 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re regularly exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Hearing Injury Signs
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- When you speak with people you always think they are mumbling.
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
What Are Employers Doing to Lessen Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are using the latest technology to reduce workplace noise in overly loud settings. Workplace noise will be decreased as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become mindful of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they are damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud environment. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you think your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. When you ascertain the degree of your hearing loss, you will find out how to prevent further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and formulate strategies to help you avoid any further damage.