If you think of hearing as simply being able to hear things, then you’ll be pleased to know that workers in every industry are generally exposed to safe noise levels. However, there are hidden dangers of hearing loss in the workplace that you might not expect.
In many jobs, speech is a key part of day-to-day activities. For example, if you work with customers, this will involve speaking with them and listening to their responses to your questions or suggestions. The same applies to other types of workers such as farmers and construction workers who are often required to converse with colleagues about ongoing projects or plans for future projects. Even many manual jobs require some degree of communication between team members or with supervisors. These examples highlight how important speech is as a part of normal working practices.
What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss?
Simply put, noise-induced hearing loss refers to the damage that occurs to your ears as a result of exposure to loud noises. Exposure to noise isn’t a single event; the damage occurs over time. That’s why many people who work in noisy environments suffer from hearing loss as they get older. If the noise is loud enough, it can cause permanent damage to your ears, and there’s no chance of recovery.
If you experience temporary hearing loss, it will go away once you have removed yourself from the loud noise, but it can become permanent if you don’t protect your ears. Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses. It’s prevalent among workers in construction, mining, transportation, entertainment, and health care industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that approximately 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels each year.
The Dangers of Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Hearing loss may be a sign of a more serious underlying issue or condition, which you should be checked out by hearing healthcare in Colorado Springs to rule out any serious danger. If left untreated, hearing loss can result in emotional and psychological stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues. It can also create problems in relationships with family and friends, as well as at work.
Hearing loss can affect your overall quality of life. It can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and feeling of being overwhelmed due to the extra effort required to compensate for the hearing loss. You may withdraw from social situations, or you may find yourself leaning heavily on others for assistance, which can put a strain on relationships.
Causes of Hearing Loss in the Workplace
- Loud Noises – the most common cause of hearing loss in the workplace is loud noises. You may not even be aware that the noise levels in your workplace are dangerous. This is why it’s important to follow safety protocols, such as wearing earplugs when you expect to be exposed to loud noises.
- Poor Hygiene Practices – Close quarters and shared equipment in the workplace can lead to infectious diseases, such as the flu. Excessive noise can cause you to lose focus and fail to recognize the warning signs associated with the flu.
- Ear Infections – Excessive ear wax, a build-up of wax inside your ears, can cause infections that may go untreated due to possible hearing loss.
- Ear Problems – Excessive ear wax, a build-up of wax inside your ears, can cause infections that may go untreated due to possible hearing loss.
Strategies to Prevent Hearing Loss in the Workplace
There are some simple steps you can take to protect your ears from hearing loss. First, if you work in an area with loud noises, wear earplugs. And if you’re required to wear earphones, use noise-canceling headphones to reduce the amount of damage caused by the noise. If you are required to wear a hard hat, make sure it has a built-in noise reduction system. You should also try to avoid wearing an excessive amount of protection; wearing extra protection can disrupt your normal hearing and make you less aware of the noises around you. When you are around other noisy machinery, be sure to stand at a safe distance to avoid being injured by flying particles.
Hearing loss is a common condition that can have a significant impact on your life. It can also have a negative effect on your job performance and your relationships with coworkers and supervisors. The best way to prevent hearing loss is to wear ear protection when around loud noises. If you already have hearing loss, there are steps you can take to protect your hearing. These include avoiding excessively loud noise, wearing ear protection, and wearing earplugs.