Roughly two million workplace injuries are documented every 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 there is a far more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more common and frequently overlooked. Over a few years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to disregard. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a temporary issue”. This isn’t unusual.
And it’s unusual for people to even acknowledge that their workplace is responsible for this injury.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should identify, and there are significant 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 sustained exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower generates 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re experiencing 100 dB. A gunshot is about 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? 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 constant.
Hearing Damage 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:
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling when it should be quiet.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to reduce workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Government agencies are working to update guidelines that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured due to workplace noise, they are coming forward. With time, their voices will result in further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the smartest thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage is done. Using protective headphones or earplugs on the job will help decrease potential damage.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible if you believe a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. You will discover how to prevent further damage when you find out how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you counter any further damage.