Each year, about 2 million workplace injuries are reported. 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 common workplace injury is far more insidious and commonly goes unreported. Over the course of a few years, it will sneak up slowly on people. The majority of individuals don’t even recognize it’s happening until it becomes significant. Excuses are a normal reaction. “It’s only temporary” or “I’m just getting older. This response is normal.
Many individuals don’t even realize it was related to their workplace environment.
The insidious injury is hearing damage. There are some important steps you should take if you notice any of the numerous warning signs.
Exactly When Does The Volume Become “Too Loud”?
Sustained exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can result in permanent damage to your hearing. Seventy-five dB, for instance, is the average volume of a vacuum. A lawnmower produces 85 dB. A leaf blower or chainsaw produces more than 100 dB. And the volume of a gunshot logs in at 140 dB.
Are you at risk when in your work environment? Is the most common workplace injury an issue for you? Over time, your hearing can be damaged if you’re regularly exposed to sound as loud as a lawnmower, even if it’s not continuous.
Hearing Injury Signs
If you work in a loud environment, there’s no doubt you’re damaging your hearing.
Your experiencing hearing loss if you notice any of the following signs:
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves when they talk.
- consonants get confused – “Todd” sounds like “Dodd,” for example.
- You tend to withdraw when others are talking.
- You can’t understand the person speaking if there’s background sound.
- You hear ringing, whistling, or hissing when it should be quiet.
- Loud noises cause pain in your ears.
- Your family and friends tell you your television, radio, or computer tablet volume is too high.
- Conversations sound muffled.
- When you talk with people you constantly believe they are mumbling
What Are Employers Doing to Decrease Hearing Damage?
In settings that are extremely loud, technology is being put to use by organizations and businesses, to reduce workplace noise. Workplace noise will be lessened as new guidelines are being put in place by governments to safeguard workers.
Employees are speaking out as they become aware of the long-term damage that workplace noise is causing. Further change will come as their voices are heard.
Preventing Further Damage
If you work in a noisy setting, the smartest thing you can do is protect your ears before any damage is done. Potential damage will be decreased by wearing protective earmuffs or earplugs.
Make an appointment for a hearing test right away if you believe a noisy workplace has caused damage to your hearing. You will learn how to counter added damage when you find out how much hearing damage you’re dealing with. We can help you formulate strategies to prevent further hearing loss and deal with the damage you’ve already experienced.