Roughly two million workplace injuries are documented every year. Usually, we think of a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But the most common workplace injury is much more pernicious and commonly goes unreported. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The majority of individuals don’t even recognize it’s occurring until it becomes severe. People typically make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This isn’t unusual.
Many people don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are several warning signs you should recognize, and there are important 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 prolonged exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re experiencing 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? If you’re frequently exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Signs of Hearing Injury
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
In settings that are really loud, technology is being put to use by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be reduced as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become mindful of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. With time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage takes place. Wearing protective headphones or earplugs while at work will help reduce potential damage.
If you suspect your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. You will discover how to avoid added damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you already have and formulate strategies to help you counter any additional damage.