Roughly two million workplace injuries are reported each year. When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of flying objects or a hand caught in a piece of machinery at a factory.
But the most prevalent workplace injury is a lot more pernicious and commonly goes unreported. Over a few years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The injury goes undetected until the effects become impossible to dismiss. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It will go away” or “I’m just getting older. This is normal.
Many people don’t even recognize it was brought on by their workplace environment.
Damaged hearing 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?
Your hearing can be permanently damaged with sustained exposure to as little as 85 decibels (dB) over a long period. Seventy-five dB, for example, is the average volume of a vacuum cleaner. A lawnmower produces 85 dB. If you’re exposed to a leaf blower or a chainsaw you’re experiencing 100 dB. A gunshot is about 140 dB.
Are you at risk when you’re at work? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re regularly 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.
The following is are early warning signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss:
- Conversations sound muffled.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You often ask people to repeat what they said.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- You hear ringing, hissing, or whistling when it should be quiet.
- You suspect people speaking to you are constantly mumbling.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Your family and friends tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the most recent technology to decrease workplace noise in excessively loud settings. Government agencies are working to update recommendations that will minimize 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 speaking out. Over time, their voices will lead to further change.
Preventing Further Damage
Safeguarding your ears before they become damaged is the smartest plan if you work in a loud setting. Potential damage will be reduced by wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Schedule an appointment for a hearing test as soon as possible if you believe a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. You will learn how to prevent additional damage when you determine how much hearing damage you have. We can help you formulate strategies to avoid further hearing loss and address the damage you’ve already experienced.