Approximately two million workplace injuries are reported each year. Normally, we think of a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But the most prevalent workplace injury is far more insidious and often goes unreported. Over a few years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to overlook. People typically make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is the cause of this injury.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are some essential steps you should take if you recognize any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Continual exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can trigger permanent damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A chainsaw or leaf blower produces more than 100 dB. A gunshot is about 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? If you’re regularly exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Hearing Damage Signs
You’re absolutely harming your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- When you talk with people you constantly believe they are mumbling
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing when it should be quiet.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You regularly ask people to repeat what they said.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
In environments that are really loud, technology is being used by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to update guidelines that will decrease workplace noise and protect employees.
Employees are coming forward as they become aware of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. With time, their voices will result in further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they are damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs while at work will help minimize potential damage.
Make an appointment for a hearing examination right away if you believe a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. You will learn how to avoid further damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and formulate strategies to help you counter any additional damage.