Every year, about 2 million workplace injuries are reported. Usually, we think of a hand caught in a piece of machinery or a flying projectile when we consider work-related injuries.
But the most prevalent workplace injury is far more pernicious and commonly goes unreported. Over several years, it will sneak up gradually on people. The injury goes unnoticed until the symptoms become impossible to overlook. Excuses are a typical reaction. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This response is common.
And it’s unusual for people to even realize that their workplace is to blame for this injury.
The insidious injury is damaged hearing. There are several 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 long-term damage to your hearing. For reference, a vacuum runs at around 75 decibels dB. A lawnmower delivers 85 dB. 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 in your work environment? Are you being exposed to the most common workplace injury? If you’re frequently exposed to noise as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous, your hearing can become damaged over time.
Hearing Injury Signs
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re harming your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- You tend to disengage when others are talking.
- You feel pain when you hear loud noises.
- You confuse consonants – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for instance.
- 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.
- When you speak with people you always believe they are mumbling
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing even when it’s quiet.
- You often ask people to repeat what they said.
- Conversations sound muffled.
How is Hearing Damage Being Dealt With by Employers?
Businesses and organizations are utilizing the latest technology to decrease workplace noise in excessively loud settings. Workplace noise will be lessened as new recommendations are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
As more employees become aware of the recurring damage they have suffered as a consequence of workplace noise, they are coming forward. Over time, their voices will bring about further change.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a loud setting, the smartest thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage occurs. Potential damage will be minimized by using protective earplugs or earmuffs.
Make an appointment for a hearing test right away if you believe a noisy workplace has caused injury to your hearing. When you identify the extent of your hearing loss, you will find out how to prevent further damage going forward. We can help you develop strategies to protect against further hearing loss and manage the damage you’ve already experienced.