Around two million workplace injuries are documented 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 there is a much more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently unnoticed. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The majority of people don’t even recognize it’s happening until it becomes severe. People typically make excuses. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This isn’t unusual.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is to blame for this injury.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are numerous warning signs you should recognize, and there are significant steps you need to take if you believe the damage is already done.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Regular exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can cause long-term damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re dealing with 100 dB. A gunshot is about 140 dB.
How loud is your workplace? 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 constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Symptoms of Hearing Injury
You’re absolutely harming your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- Your family and friends tell you your TV, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling when it should be quiet.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- When you speak with people you always think they are mumbling
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
How is Hearing Damage Being Tackled by Employers?
In environments that are very loud, technology is being used by businesses or organizations to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be reduced as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have endured as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. In time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the smartest thing you can do is safeguard your ears before any damage is done. Potential damage will be decreased by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible if you think a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. When you ascertain the extent of your hearing loss, you will find out how to counter further damage going forward. We can help you formulate strategies to protect against additional hearing loss and address the damage you’ve already experienced.