Each year, around 2 million workplace injuries are reported. 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 prevalent workplace injury is far more pernicious and frequently goes unreported. It sneaks up on people very slowly over the course of several years. Most individuals don’t even detect it’s occurring until it becomes severe. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a temporary problem”. This isn’t unusual.
Many people don’t even realize it was related to their workplace environment.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should identify, and there are significant steps you need to take if you suspect the damage is already done.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “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 creates more than 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re frequently exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Signs of Hearing Damage
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no question you’re damaging your hearing.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- You tend to withdraw when people are talking.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing even when it’s quiet.
How is Hearing Damage Being Addressed by Employers?
In environments that are extremely loud, technology is being used by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to update guidelines that will decrease workplace noise and protect employees.
Employees are coming forward 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
Protecting your ears before they are damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Wearing protective headphones or earplugs on the job will help decrease potential damage.
If you believe 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 prevent added damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We can help you develop strategies to protect against additional hearing loss and address the damage you’ve already experienced.