Around two million workplace injuries are documented each year. Typically, 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 a lot more insidious and often goes unreported. It sneaks up on people really slowly over several years. The majority of individuals don’t even recognize it’s occurring until it becomes severe. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s just part of growing older” or “It’s not a permanent problem”. This response is common.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are some significant steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged with prolonged exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at about 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. A chainsaw or leaf blower produces over 100 dB. A gunshot is about 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? Over time, your hearing is likely to be damaged if you are regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous.
Hearing Injury Signs
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Your friends and family tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing when it should be quiet.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
In environments that are extremely loud, technology is being put to use by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to update recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
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 wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination right away if you suspect a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. You will learn how to counter additional damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We can help you develop strategies to prevent additional hearing loss and address the damage you’ve already experienced.