Approximately two million workplace injuries are reported each year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you might think of flying objects or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most prevalent workplace injury is far more pernicious and commonly goes unreported. It sneaks up on people really slowly over several years. Most people don’t even detect it’s happening until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a short-term issue”. This isn’t unusual.
Many people don’t even realize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are some essential steps you should take if you notice any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Sustained exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can result in permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower generates 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re experiencing 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot logs in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? If you’re regularly 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 noisy environment, there’s no doubt you’re harming your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You experience pain when you hear loud noises.
- When you talk with people you always believe they are mumbling
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
What Are Employers Doing to Reduce Hearing Damage?
In environments that are very loud, technology is being put to use by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be minimized as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered as a result of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage takes place. Potential damage will be decreased by wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you believe your hearing has been damaged 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 prevent further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you already have and formulate strategies to help you avoid any further damage.