About two million workplace injuries are reported each year. 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 common and frequently overlooked. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to dismiss. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This isn’t unusual.
And it’s unusual for people to even acknowledge that their workplace is the cause of this injury.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are some important steps you should take if you recognize any of the numerous warning signs.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged with sustained exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower generates 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a chainsaw or leaf blower you’re experiencing 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? If you’re frequently exposed to noise 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.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You think people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling when it should be quiet.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to reduce workplace noise in overly loud environments. Government agencies are endeavoring to update recommendations that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
Employees are speaking out as they become mindful of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. Over time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the best thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage occurs. Wearing protective headphones or earplugs while at work will help decrease potential damage.
If you suspect your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as you can. You will discover how to counter additional 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 prevent any further damage.