Every year, about 2 million workplace injuries are documented. 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 much more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more common and frequently undetected. Over the course of a few years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to disregard. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s not a permanent issue”. This isn’t unusual.
And it’s unusual for people to even recognize that their workplace is responsible for this injury.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are some significant steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Sustained exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can result in permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw generates over 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
How loud is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re regularly exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Hearing Injury Signs
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no question you’re harming your hearing.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- You tend to withdraw when people are talking.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
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 settings. Government agencies are endeavoring to update recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered due to workplace noise, they are coming forward. Over time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a loud setting, the best thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage takes place. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
If you believe your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can. You will learn how to avoid additional damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We can help you develop strategies to protect against further hearing loss and deal with the damage you’ve already experienced.