Approximately two million workplace injuries are reported each year. Typically, we think about a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But there is a far more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently undetected. Over several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. Most individuals don’t even notice it’s happening until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are several warning signs you should identify, 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 louder than 85 decibels (dB) can trigger permanent damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum cleaner. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. A chainsaw or leaf blower generates more than 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
How loud is your workplace? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? 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.
Signs of Hearing Damage
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no question you’re damaging your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- Your family and friends tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
How is Hearing Damage Being Addressed by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to lessen workplace noise in excessively loud settings. Workplace noise will be reduced as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have suffered 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 environment, the smartest thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage occurs. Potential damage will be decreased by wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs.
If you suspect your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can. You will discover how to avoid added damage when you find out how much hearing damage you have. We can help you formulate strategies to avoid additional hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.