Approximately two million workplace injuries are reported each year. Normally, we think about a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But the most common workplace injury is far more pernicious and frequently goes unreported. It sneaks up on people very slowly over several years. The majority of individuals don’t even notice it’s happening until it becomes significant. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This response is common.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are several warning signs you should identify, and there are significant steps you need to take if you believe the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Continual exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can cause long-term damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A chainsaw or leaf blower generates over 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury an issue for you? If you’re frequently exposed to noise 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.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You tend to disengage when others are talking.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
What Are Employers Doing to Reduce Hearing Damage?
In settings that are very loud, technology is being used by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to update 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. In time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
Protecting your ears before they become damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be decreased by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible if you think a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. When you ascertain the level of your hearing loss, you will find out how to prevent further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you already have and formulate strategies to help you prevent any additional damage.