Roughly two million workplace injuries are reported each year. 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 a lot more insidious and often goes unreported. It sneaks up on people very slowly over several years. The majority of people don’t even detect it’s happening until it becomes significant. People often make excuses. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s not a permanent problem”. This is normal.
Many people don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are some essential 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. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re experiencing 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.
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
You’re definitely damaging 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, hissing, or whistling.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- When you talk with people you always believe they are mumbling
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- You regularly ask people to repeat what they said.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Conversations sound muffled.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
In settings that are extremely loud, technology is being put to use by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify guidelines that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have suffered as a consequence of workplace noise, they are speaking out. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a noisy setting, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage takes place. Using protective headphones or earplugs while at work will help reduce potential damage.
If you think your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can. When you ascertain the degree of your hearing loss, you will learn how to avoid further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you avoid any additional damage.