According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), around 22 million Americans are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. With many fundamental industries producing noisy environments on a daily basis, hearing damage is a very real concern for those who work in a naturally noisy industry, long- or even short-term.
Hearing damage is an issue that can creep up on you if you’re not paying attention. With many workers only finding out about a problem when their hearing has started to noticeably decline, what can you do to ensure your safety in the workplace?
When is loud too loud?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a number of regulations laid out for employers in terms of the environment they should provide and control for their employees. The rules relating to occupational noise in your industry can differ from one to another but, on a basic level, the OSHA highlights that noise could be a problem for you if you experience any of the following:
- You hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work.
- Have to shout to be heard by a co-worker an arm’s length away.
- You experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.
What industries carry the risk of hearing damage?
The CDC lists a number of core industries that carry the risk of hearing damage:
The latter is an extremely broad umbrella term that encapsulates all sorts of industries with occupational noise risk. Some more specific areas include:
- Armed forces
- Health services
- Music and entertainment
- Airport ground staff
- Firefighting and other emergency services
Of course, the list above is not exclusive, and many industries can present a hearing risk. The best advice would be to monitor your condition in relation to the three initial ground rules set out by the OSHA (humming/ringing, having shout, temporary hearing loss) on a day-to-day basis.
What should you do if you suspect you might have hearing damage?
If you experience hearing loss in one or both ears, you should consult a medical professional as soon as possible. If you suspect you might have some hearing damage, you can speak to a professional or book an online hearing test that will give you your findings in minutes.
Naturally, with something as important as your hearing, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t be afraid to speak to a physician or seek a test if you’re worried something is wrong.
Occupational noise is a very real problem in the modern workforce – but it’s something many of us wouldn’t even think about on any given day. With millions of Americans exposed to potentially problematic conditions on a daily basis, make sure you stay alert to the risks you could be facing in your own professional life.