Around two million workplace injuries are reported every year. 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 there is a far more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently undetected. It sneaks up on people very slowly over the course of several years. The injury goes undetected until the symptoms become impossible to ignore. People often make excuses. “It’s just part of aging” or “It’s a short-term issue”. This response is common.
And it’s unusual for people to even acknowledge that their workplace is responsible for this injury.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are a number of warning signs you should recognize, and there are essential 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 permanently damaged with prolonged exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum cleaner. A lawnmower generates 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re experiencing 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot logs in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? If you’re frequently exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Signs of Hearing Damage
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re harming your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing when it should be quiet.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- Your friends and family tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- When you speak with people you always think they are mumbling
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
In settings that are extremely loud, technology is being put to use by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
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 Further Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the smartest thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage takes place. Potential damage will be decreased by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination as soon as possible if you think a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. When you ascertain the degree of your hearing loss, you will find out how to prevent further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you already have and develop strategies to help you counter any further damage.