Every year, about 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 the most common workplace injury is a lot more insidious and commonly goes unreported. Over the course of several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The majority of people don’t even notice it’s occurring until it becomes severe. People typically make excuses. “It’s just part of aging” or “It’s a temporary problem”. This is normal.
And it’s unusual for people to even acknowledge that their workplace is the cause of this injury.
Hearing damage is this insidious injury. There are some important 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 trigger long-term damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. A leaf blower or chainsaw generates over 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot comes in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury a problem for you? If you’re frequently exposed to something 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 harming 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:
- When people speak, you tend disengage.
- You’re hearing noises in your ears like ringing, hissing, or whistling.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- People are always complaining about the loud volume of your media devices.
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- When you speak with people you always believe they are mumbling
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
Businesses and organizations are using the latest technology to reduce workplace noise in overly loud environments. Government agencies are endeavoring to modify recommendations that will minimize workplace noise and protect employees.
Employees are speaking out as they become mindful of the chronic damage that workplace noise is causing. Over time, their voices will result in further change.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a loud setting, the best thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage occurs. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
If you think your hearing has been damaged by a noisy workplace, schedule a hearing test as soon as you can. When you identify the level of your hearing loss, you will find out how to prevent further damage going forward. We can help you develop strategies to prevent additional hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.