Every year, about 2 million workplace injuries are documented. 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 prevalent workplace injury is a lot more pernicious and frequently goes unreported. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. Most people don’t even recognize it’s happening until it becomes significant. People often make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even recognize that their workplace is the cause of this injury.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are some essential steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
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 cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. A chainsaw or leaf blower creates more than 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re regularly exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, there’s no doubt you’re harming your hearing.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- When you talk with people you constantly think they are mumbling
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
What Are Employers Doing to Reduce Hearing Damage?
In environments that are very loud, technology is being put to use by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a result of workplace noise, they are speaking out. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they become damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud environment. Potential damage will be decreased by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you think your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. When you identify the degree of your hearing loss, you will find out how to avoid further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you already have and formulate strategies to help you avoid any further damage.