Around two million workplace injuries are documented each year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you might think of flying objects or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a far more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more common and frequently undetected. Over several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to dismiss. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s not a permanent issue”. This is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is the cause of this injury.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are numerous warning signs you should recognize, and there are important steps you need to take if you suspect the damage is already done.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Sustained exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can trigger long-term damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower produces 85 dB. A chainsaw or leaf blower creates more than 100 dB. A gunshot is about 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? Over time, your hearing is likely to be damaged if you’re regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant.
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to lessen workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Workplace noise will be lessened as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a consequence of workplace noise, they are speaking out. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a loud environment, the smartest thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage takes place. Potential damage will be reduced by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing test right away if you believe a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. When you ascertain the extent of your hearing loss, you will find out how to avoid further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you avoid any further damage.