Every year, about 2 million workplace injuries are reported. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you might think of flying objects or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a much more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and often unnoticed. It sneaks up on people extremely gradually over the course of several years. Most people don’t even recognize it’s occurring until it becomes severe. People often make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This isn’t unusual.
Many people don’t even realize it was caused by their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are some significant steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Continual exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can trigger permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. 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 you’re at work? 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 constant.
Hearing Injury Signs
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- Your family and friends tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- Conversations sound muffled.
How is Hearing Damage Being Addressed by Employers?
In settings that are very loud, technology is being used by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are working to modify guidelines that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have endured due to workplace noise, they are speaking out. Over time, their voices will bring about further change.
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. Using protective headphones or earplugs on the job will help reduce potential damage.
Make an appointment for a hearing examination right away if you believe a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. You will discover how to avoid additional damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you counter any additional damage.