Each year, roughly 2 million workplace injuries are reported. Normally, we think about 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 really slowly over several years. The majority of people don’t even recognize it’s occurring until it becomes significant. People often make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is to blame for this injury.
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 believe the damage is already done.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Sustained exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can result in permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw produces over 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? Over time, your hearing is likely to be damaged if you are regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous.
Signs of Hearing Damage
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- Your family and friends tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
In environments that are very loud, technology is being put to use by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are working to update recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have suffered due to workplace noise, they are speaking out. Over time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Protecting your ears before they are damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be decreased by wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs.
If you suspect your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. When you determine the degree of your hearing loss, you will find out how to counter further damage going forward. We can help you formulate strategies to avoid additional hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.