Each year, around 2 million workplace injuries are reported. Usually, we think about a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But there is a much more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and often unnoticed. It sneaks up on people very gradually over the course of several years. The injury goes undetected until the effects become impossible to disregard. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was related to their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are some essential steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Sustained exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can trigger long-term damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw creates more than 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Are you being exposed to the most prevalent workplace injury? Over time, your hearing can be damaged if you are regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous.
Hearing Damage Signs
You’re definitely harming your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing even when it’s quiet.
- Your family and friends tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You feel pain when you hear loud sounds.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- You tend to disengage when people are talking.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are using the latest technology to reduce workplace noise in overly loud settings. Workplace noise will be lessened as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a result of workplace noise, they are speaking out. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the smartest thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage takes place. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
If you suspect your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. When you ascertain the extent of your hearing loss, you will learn how to counter further damage going forward. We can help you formulate strategies to avoid further hearing loss and deal with the damage you’ve already experienced.