Every year, roughly 2 million workplace injuries are documented. 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 much more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more common and frequently unnoticed. It sneaks up on people really slowly over several years. The injury goes undetected until the effects become impossible to dismiss. People often make excuses. “It’s just part of growing older” or “It’s a temporary problem”. This isn’t unusual.
And it’s unusual for people to even recognize that their workplace is to blame for this injury.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are some important steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be permanently damaged with sustained exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum. A lawnmower produces 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re dealing with 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? 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.
Hearing Injury Signs
You’re absolutely harming your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- When you speak with people you always think they are mumbling
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are using the most recent technology to reduce workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Workplace noise will be decreased as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have endured due to workplace noise, they are coming forward. In time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a loud environment, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage is done. Potential damage will be reduced by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination as soon as possible if you believe a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. When you ascertain the extent of your hearing loss, you will learn how to avoid further damage going forward. We can help you formulate strategies to prevent further hearing loss and deal with the damage you’ve already experienced.