Each year, about 2 million workplace injuries are reported. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you might 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 insidious and commonly goes unreported. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to disregard. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a short-term issue”. This response is common.
Many people don’t even realize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are a number of 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?
Regular exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can result in permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at about 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re dealing with 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Are you being exposed to the most common 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
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- Your family and friends tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- You experience pain when you hear loud noises.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
- When you talk with people you always believe they are mumbling
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are using the most recent technology to decrease workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Workplace noise will be reduced as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become aware of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. In time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a loud environment, the best thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage is done. Potential damage will be reduced by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
If you believe your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. You will learn how to avoid further damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We can help you develop strategies to protect against further hearing loss and deal with the damage you’ve already experienced.