Roughly two million workplace injuries are documented each year. Usually, we think of 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 much more insidious and often goes unreported. Over several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. Most people don’t even detect it’s occurring until it becomes severe. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It’s just part of aging” or “It’s a temporary problem”. This response is normal.
Many people don’t even realize it was caused by 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 think the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Sustained exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can result in 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 leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re dealing with 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
How noisy is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent 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.
Signs of Hearing Injury
You’re absolutely damaging 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:
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
In settings that are very loud, technology is being used by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify guidelines that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered due to workplace noise, they are speaking out. With time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
Protecting your ears before they become damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be decreased by wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you suspect your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. You will discover how to avoid further damage when you determine how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We can help you formulate strategies to protect against additional hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.