About two million workplace injuries are reported 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 prevalent workplace injury is a lot more pernicious and frequently goes unreported. It sneaks up on people very slowly over several years. The majority of individuals don’t even recognize it’s occurring until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of growing older” or “It’s not a permanent problem”. This isn’t unusual.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was related to their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are a number of warning signs you should recognize, and there are significant steps you need to take if you suspect the damage is already done.
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 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. 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? If you’re regularly exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re harming your hearing.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too loud.
- When you talk with people you always believe they are mumbling
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing when it should be quiet.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are using the most recent technology to decrease workplace noise in overly loud environments. Government agencies are working to modify recommendations that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
Employees are speaking out as they become mindful of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Additional Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they are damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be reduced by wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing examination right away if you think a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. When you determine the extent of your hearing loss, you will find out how to avoid further damage going forward. We can help you develop strategies to avoid further hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.