Roughly two million workplace injuries are reported each year. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you might think of flying objects or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most common workplace injury is much more pernicious and commonly goes unreported. It sneaks up on people really slowly over the course of several years. Most individuals don’t even recognize it’s happening until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of growing older” or “It’s a temporary issue”. This response is common.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is the cause of this injury.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are some significant steps you should take if you notice 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. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum. 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.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? If you’re frequently exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Hearing Damage Signs
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a noisy environment without hearing protection.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- You tend to disengage when others are talking.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- When you talk with people you always believe they are mumbling
- Your friends and family tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You regularly ask people to repeat what they said.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are using the latest technology to lessen workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify guidelines that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have endured as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Over time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they become damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud environment. Wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs on the job will help minimize potential damage.
Make an appointment for a hearing examination right away if you think a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. When you identify the extent of your hearing loss, you will learn how to avoid further damage going forward. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and develop strategies to help you avoid any additional damage.