Is Your Job Hazardous To Your Hearing?
Hearing Loss At Work
The most common hearing impairments reported on the job are noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). These injuries don’t just affect your ears, but can lead to physical and psychological stress and reduced productivity. The four loudest occupations are:
Work-related hearing impairment is a particular concern for men and women in the armed forces who are dealing with the sounds of bombs, low-flying aircraft and gunshots on a regular basis. Hearing impairment is the most common physical injury suffered by people in the military, and because the effects can be severe, it is often misdiagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Farm equipment is loud, and without proper hearing protection it can lead to permanent hearing loss in those who work around that equipment all day. People should wear hearing protection when exposed to sounds over 85 decibels for long periods. To put this into perspective, the sound of a tractor can reach 112 decibels, and the sound of just one pig squealing can reach up to 115 dB!
The loud sounds in small, confined spaces make mining dangerous for those who work with unprotected hearing. In the general population, 9 percent of men will have hearing loss by age 50, but for miners, that number is 49 percent. And by age 60, 70 percent of miners will have hearing loss.
One out of every nine people who work in manufacturing reports having noise-induced hearing loss. The machinery used in manufacturing can be very loud, and they often run for hours at a time. Federal guidelines mandate hearing protection for those working around loud equipment, but not everyone uses it, or uses it correctly.
Save Your Hearing
If you’re exposed to loud sounds at work, here are a few things you can do to protect your hearing:
Wear custom-molded earplugs or sound-canceling headphones Operate noisy machines in shorter shifts Monitor the decibel levels you’re exposed to, and limit your time around the noisiest equipment Keep tools and machines lubricated and well-maintained to decrease th e noise as much as possible
If you or a loved one works in a loud environment, make an appointment with an experienced audiologist to get your hearing tested today, and speak to the audiologist about the best way to protect your hearing on the job.