Each year, about 2 million workplace injuries are documented. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying objects or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most common workplace injury is a lot more insidious and frequently goes unreported. It sneaks up on people really slowly over several years. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to dismiss. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is common.
Many people don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are a number of warning signs you should identify, and there are essential steps you need to take if you believe 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 cleaner runs at about 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 noisy is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? If you’re regularly exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
You’re absolutely damaging your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Your family and friends tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
- When you speak with people you always think they are mumbling
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- Conversations sound muffled.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to lessen workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Workplace noise will be decreased as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become mindful of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. Over time, their voices will result in 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 is done. Potential damage will be reduced 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 possible. When you determine the level of your hearing loss, you will learn how to prevent further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you avoid any further damage.