Roughly two million workplace injuries are reported every year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying projectiles or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most prevalent workplace injury is a lot more insidious and commonly goes unreported. It sneaks up on people very gradually over several years. Most individuals don’t even detect it’s happening until it becomes severe. People often make excuses. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This is normal.
Many individuals don’t even recognize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are numerous warning signs you should identify, and there are essential steps you need to take if you think the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Continual exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can trigger permanent damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at about 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A chainsaw or leaf blower produces more than 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot logs in at 140 dB.
How loud is your workplace? 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 continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
You’re absolutely damaging your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- You experience pain when you hear loud noises.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, whistling, or hissing.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
What Are Employers Doing to Reduce Hearing Damage?
In environments that are really loud, technology is being put to use by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be lessened as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to protect workers.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a result of workplace noise, they are speaking out. With time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you work in a loud environment, the best thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage is done. Potential damage will be reduced by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you believe your hearing has been injured by a noisy workplace, make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can. You will learn how to avoid further damage when you determine how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We address any hearing damage you already have and develop strategies to help you avoid any additional damage.