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 caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most common workplace injury is a lot more insidious and commonly goes unreported. It sneaks up on people extremely gradually over several years. The majority of individuals don’t even notice it’s happening until it becomes severe. People often make excuses. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is the cause of 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.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be permanently damaged with regular 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. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re experiencing 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? 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.
Hearing Damage Signs
If you work in a noisy environment, there’s no question you’re damaging your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- Your family and friends tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- When you speak with people you always believe they are mumbling
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
In settings that are extremely loud, technology is being used by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be minimized as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have suffered due to workplace noise, they are coming forward. Over time, their voices will result in further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they become damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing exam right away if you suspect a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. When you identify the level of your hearing loss, you will learn how to counter further damage going forward. We can help you develop strategies to avoid further hearing loss and address the damage you’ve already experienced.