One of the hidden workplace hazards in many jobs is the damage that can be done to your hearing.
Most people think of physical injuries requiring immediate medical treatment when they think of workplace injuries. However, statistics show that hearing damage is actually the most common type of employment injury – with hearing loss potentially taking years to make itself known.
With October being National Audiology Awareness Month, Audio Help Hearing Centers in New York City, Scarsdale and Stamford offers the following information about job-related hearing loss and how you can protect your hearing and minimize further damage to your ears.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Approximately 22 million American workers are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) at their job, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Noisy environments can occur in nearly every kind of job, but workers in the manufacturing, construction, utility and mining industries are at particular risk. Other employees may be exposed to chemicals that can damage their hearing. Additionally, those who work or spend time outdoors in noisy areas are also at risk.
Prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) can damage your hearing, while exposure to louder sounds such as a gunshot (140 dB) can cause NIHL immediately. Loud noises can damage the tiny hairs in our inner ears, causing permanent hearing loss.
Tips for Protecting Your Hearing
Even if you have already experienced hearing loss, there are steps you can take to minimize further damage, including:
- Wear hearing protection while on the job as much as possible. The earmuff variety is preferable, although the earplugs will also reduce hearing loss.
- If you can’t reduce the volume of a noise source, try to distance yourself from it as much as possible.
- Talk to your superiors about your concerns with noise levels and how it’s affecting your health.
- Schedule an appointment with your audiologist to test your hearing.