About two million workplace injuries are documented every year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying projectiles or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a far more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more common and often 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 will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even recognize that their workplace is to blame for this injury.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should identify, and there are significant steps you need to take if you suspect the damage is already done.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged with prolonged exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 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? If you’re frequently exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Symptoms of Hearing Injury
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no question you’re damaging your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- When you speak with people you always believe they are mumbling
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- You often ask people to repeat what they said.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the latest technology to reduce workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Workplace noise will be lessened as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become aware of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Additional Damage
Protecting your ears before they become damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be reduced by wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs.
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 counter further damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you already have and develop strategies to help you avoid any additional damage.