Every year, about 2 million workplace injuries are documented. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying objects or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most common workplace injury is much more pernicious and frequently goes unreported. Over the course of a few 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 the aging process” or “It’s not a permanent issue”. This response is common.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was related to their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are some significant steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Regular exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum cleaner. A lawnmower produces 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re dealing with 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury an issue for you? If you’re frequently exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Hearing Damage Signs
If you work in a noisy environment, there’s no doubt you’re harming your hearing.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- Your family and friends tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- When you speak with people you constantly think they are mumbling
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You tend to disengage when people are talking.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
In environments that are very loud, technology is being put to use by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be reduced as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured due to workplace noise, they are speaking out. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Additional Damage
Protecting your ears before they are damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Using protective earmuffs or earplugs on the job will help decrease potential damage.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination right away if you think a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. When you ascertain the level of your hearing loss, you will learn how to prevent further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you already have and formulate strategies to help you prevent any additional damage.