Hearing Loss and the Noisy Workplace
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common reasons individuals end up needing hearing aids. The noises of the workplace are one of the most common reasons for noise-induced hearing loss. As well, one of the most common reasons it can cause permanent hearing loss is due to individuals not realizing that they’re losing their hearing. These Sonus complete reviews will help you in learning more about the common reasons behind the hearing issues you face and how you can get all these symptoms under control.
Noise-induced hearing loss doesn’t happen immediately in most cases. In general, the damage accumulates over time. You may think your workplace isn’t particularly noisy; you might think this article doesn’t apply to you. However, according to NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), around thirty million people work in places with hazardous noise levels.
As you might expect, those at risk for noise-induced hearing loss include factory workers, construction workers, and military personnel. Some, such as stadium workers, musicians, and truck drivers, you might not have thought of, but won’t dispute them being put into the hazardous zone. However, police, farmers, and firefighters are also on the list. The most surprising, however, are office workers and computer operators. Granted, computer operators and office workers aren’t as at risk as the rest, but the fact they’re on the list at all should open your eyes.
How Can So Little Noise Cause Hearing Loss?
For workplaces like factories, it’s easy to understand that noise-induced hearing loss can occur. What about an office, though? With some exceptions, an office may not seem like a very loud place to be in, but consider the 25,000,000 Americans working in “cube farms”, or open-plan offices.
Sounds are louder than they seem…
The safe level of sound for human beings is less than 85 dB or decibels. For reference, normal conversation averages 60 dB. A ringing telephone averages 80 dB. In busy open-plan offices, the worker is bombarded by noise: co-workers talking, telephones constantly ringing, beeping office equipment, drawers opening and closing. Although the damage level is smaller and may accumulate at a slower rate than say, that of a construction worker’s hearing, the damage will accumulate.
Workplace Noise and Other Health Problems
Those working in noise-hazardous places may end up suffering from more than permanent hearing loss. Studies have shown that high-noise workplaces can also cause pathologies such as vocal strain. Even fairly moderate amounts of sound exposure can cause anxiety and anti-social behaviors. As well, most scientists in this area of the study agree there is a link between exposure to sound and ulcers, cardiac disorders, and hypertension.
Protecting Yourself from Hearing Loss
What can you do if you work in a noise-hazardous position? OSHA requires employers in workplaces that average 85 dB or more to complete certain requirements to protect their employees. Depending on the state you live in, these requirements include monitoring noise exposure, providing hearing protection devices, audiometric testing, training workers, and record keeping.
If you believe that you may be working in a place subjected to high noise levels, regular hearing tests are essential to protecting your hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, can build up to permanent hearing loss if you’re continually exposed to loud noise.
If your workplace doesn’t offer hearing protection devices or follow OSHA standards, discuss your concerns with your hearing specialist. Your ears are precious instruments, providing the wonderful sounds of the world. Take care of them, and you’ll be hearing for many years to come.