Roughly two million workplace injuries are reported each year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying objects or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most common workplace injury is far more insidious and commonly goes unreported. Over the course of a few years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to disregard. People often make excuses. “It’s just part of aging” or “It’s not a permanent issue”. This is normal.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are some significant steps you should take if you recognize any of the numerous warning signs.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Your hearing can be permanently damaged with sustained exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw produces more than 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 can be damaged if you’re regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous.
Hearing Damage Signs
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You tend to withdraw when people are talking.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the latest technology to reduce workplace noise in overly loud settings. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify guidelines that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured due to workplace noise, they are speaking out. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a loud setting, the best thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage is done. Wearing protective headphones or earplugs while at work will help minimize potential damage.
If you believe your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. When you identify the degree of your hearing loss, you will find out how to prevent further damage going forward. We can help you develop strategies to prevent further hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.