Every year, approximately 2 million workplace injuries are documented. 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 far more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more common and frequently unnoticed. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to overlook. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It’s just part of the aging process” or “It’s a temporary issue”. This isn’t unusual.
Many people don’t even recognize it was related to their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are some significant steps you should take if you detect any of the numerous warning signs.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Regular exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can result in long-term damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum cleaner runs at around 75 decibels dB. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw generates more than 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
How loud is your workplace? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re frequently exposed to something as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not constant, your hearing is likely to become damaged over time.
Hearing Injury Signs
You’re definitely damaging your hearing if you work in a loud environment without hearing protection.
What follows is are early warning signs that you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You experience pain when you hear loud noises.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
What Are Employers Doing to Reduce Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are working with the most recent technology to decrease workplace noise in excessively loud environments. Government agencies are working to modify guidelines that will reduce workplace noise and protect employees.
As more employees become aware of the chronic damage they have endured as a result of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a noisy environment, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage takes place. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earmuffs or earplugs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible if you think a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. You will learn how to prevent further damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We address any hearing damage you’re already experiencing and formulate strategies to help you counter any further damage.