About two million workplace injuries are documented each year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying projectiles or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a far more insidious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and often undetected. It sneaks up on people really slowly over several years. The injury goes unnoticed until the effects become impossible to overlook. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even acknowledge that their workplace is responsible for this injury.
Damaged hearing is this insidious injury. There are a number of warning signs you should recognize, and there are significant steps you need to take if you think the damage is already done.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Regular exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re experiencing 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? 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 Injury
You’re definitely harming 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 frequently ask people to repeat themselves when they speak.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling even when it’s quiet.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- Loud sounds cause pain in your ears.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
In settings 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 protect workers.
Employees are coming forward as they become aware of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. Over time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Protecting your ears before they are damaged is the best plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be reduced by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing test as soon as possible if you believe a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. You will discover how to avoid added damage when you find out how much hearing damage you have. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and formulate strategies to help you avoid any further damage.