Each year, approximately 2 million workplace injuries are documented. When you think about on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying objects or a hand pulled into a piece of machinery at a factory.
But there is a far more pernicious on-the-job injury that is even more prevalent and frequently undetected. Over several years, it will sneak up slowly on people. Most individuals don’t even detect it’s happening until it becomes significant. People typically make excuses. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even recognize that their workplace is to blame for this injury.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are several warning signs you should identify, and there are important steps you need to take if you suspect the damage is already done.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Sustained exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum. Eighty-five dB for a lawnmower. A leaf blower or chainsaw produces over 100 dB. A gunshot is around 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? 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 Injury
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no question you’re damaging your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- When people speak, you tend withdraw.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background noise.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing when it should be quiet.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- People are always complaining about the high volume of your media devices.
- When you speak with people you constantly think they are mumbling
- You experience pain when you hear loud noises.
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
- Conversations sound muffled.
What Are Employers Doing to Reduce Hearing Damage?
In environments that are extremely 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.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered as a consequence of workplace noise, they are speaking out. In time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they are damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud environment. Using protective earmuffs or earplugs while at work will help decrease potential damage.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing test right away if you suspect a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. You will learn how to counter additional damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We can help you formulate strategies to avoid further hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.