Every year, roughly 2 million workplace injuries are reported. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you might think of flying projectiles or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most prevalent workplace injury is far more insidious and often goes unreported. It sneaks up on people extremely slowly over several years. Most people don’t even notice it’s occurring until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of growing older” or “It’s a temporary issue”. This isn’t unusual.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was related to their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are several warning signs you should recognize, and there are significant 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 cause permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. 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 comes in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? 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.
Hearing Injury Signs
If you work in a noisy environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing even when it’s quiet.
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You regularly ask people to repeat what they said.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the latest 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.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have suffered as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. In time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the smartest thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage is done. Potential damage will be reduced by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
If you suspect your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. You will discover how to avoid further damage when you find out how much hearing damage you have. We can help you formulate strategies to avoid additional hearing loss and deal with the damage you’ve already experienced.