Every year, roughly 2 million workplace injuries are reported. Normally, 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 commonly goes unreported. It sneaks up on people really slowly over the course of several years. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to overlook. People typically make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is common.
Many people don’t even realize it was related to their workplace environment.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should recognize, 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”?
Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged with prolonged exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum. 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.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury an issue for you? If you’re frequently exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Hearing Injury Signs
You’re absolutely damaging your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves.
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- You tend to disengage when others are talking.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
In settings that are really loud, technology is being put to use by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be minimized as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. In time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Protecting your ears before they become damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Using protective earmuffs or earplugs on the job will help decrease potential damage.
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 determine 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 develop strategies to help you avoid any further damage.