Each year, about 2 million workplace injuries are documented. 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 there is a much more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more common and often unnoticed. Over the course of a few years, it will sneak up gradually on people. Most individuals don’t even detect it’s occurring until it becomes severe. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a temporary issue”. This response is normal.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are some important steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Your hearing can be permanently damaged with regular exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re experiencing 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Is the most common workplace injury an issue for you? If you’re regularly exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Signs of Hearing Damage
You’re absolutely harming your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- You tend to disengage when others are talking.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are working with the most recent technology to reduce workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
Employees are coming forward as they become mindful of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. With time, their voices will bring about further change.
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 reduced by wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you believe your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. You will discover how to counter additional damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We can help you formulate strategies to prevent further hearing loss and address the damage you’ve already experienced.