About two million workplace injuries are reported each year. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you might think of flying objects or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a far more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently overlooked. It sneaks up on people really gradually over the course of several years. The majority of individuals don’t even recognize it’s occurring until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a short-term problem”. This response is normal.
Many people don’t even recognize it was related to their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should recognize, and there are important steps you need to take if you believe the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Continual exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can cause long-term damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re dealing with 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? Over time, your hearing is likely to be damaged if you’re regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous.
Hearing Injury Signs
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no question you’re harming your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- When you talk with people you always believe they are mumbling
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
How is Hearing Damage Being Addressed by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are working with the most recent technology to lessen workplace noise in overly loud environments. Government agencies are working to modify recommendations that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Additional Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they become damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs while at work will help decrease potential damage.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination as soon as possible if you think a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. You will learn how to avoid added damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you avoid any further damage.