Every 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 the most common workplace injury is a lot more insidious and often goes unreported. It sneaks up on people extremely slowly over the course of several years. Most people don’t even notice it’s happening until it becomes severe. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This is normal.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was caused by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are some significant 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 irreversibly damaged with prolonged exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. A chainsaw or leaf blower creates over 100 dB. A gunshot is about 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 constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Signs of Hearing Injury
If you work in a noisy environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
What follows 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 loud.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You’re hearing sounds in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- You often ask people to repeat themselves.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- When you speak with people you always believe they are mumbling
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are working with the latest technology to reduce workplace noise in excessively loud settings. Workplace noise will be decreased as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered as a result of workplace noise, they are coming forward. With time, their voices will result in further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding 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 earmuffs or earplugs.
If you think your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible. You will learn how to prevent added damage when you find out how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you already have and develop strategies to help you prevent any additional damage.