Roughly two million workplace injuries are documented each year. Typically, 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 far more pernicious and frequently goes unreported. It sneaks up on people extremely gradually over the course of several years. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to overlook. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of aging” or “It’s a short-term problem”. This response is common.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was caused by their workplace environment.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should identify, and there are important steps you need to take if you believe the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged with regular exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re experiencing 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Is the most common workplace injury an issue for you? If you’re frequently exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Signs of Hearing Damage
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
The following are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You tend to disengage when people are talking.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
What Are Employers Doing to Lessen Hearing Damage?
In settings that are really loud, technology is being put to use by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be decreased as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become aware of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. Over time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a noisy setting, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage occurs. Potential damage will be minimized by wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Make an appointment for a hearing exam right away if you think a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. You will learn how to counter added damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We can help you formulate strategies to prevent additional hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.