Each year, about 2 million workplace injuries are reported. Usually, 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 far more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently undetected. Over several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to disregard. People often make excuses. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is responsible for this injury.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are some significant steps you should take if you notice any of the numerous warning signs.
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. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum cleaner. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw produces over 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? 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.
Hearing Damage Signs
You’re absolutely damaging your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You experience pain when you hear loud noises.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You frequently ask people to repeat what they said.
- Your family and friends tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
What Are Employers Doing to Lessen Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to decrease workplace noise in excessively loud settings. Workplace noise will be decreased as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
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 minimize potential damage.
If you think your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. You will learn how to counter added damage when you find out how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you already have and formulate strategies to help you counter any further damage.