Whether you are working for the weekend or have a job you love, almost any position can be putting your mental and physical health at risk. One of the most common job-related issues is associated with hearing loss. Continue reading to learn more about which careers put you most at risk of developing hearing loss and what you can do about it.
Occupational Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when you are exposed to sounds that are too loud. Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Anything measuring more than 85 dB puts you at risk of damaging the delicate hair cells within your inner ear responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical impulses.
The highest risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is related to exposures in the workplace and affects about 7% of the population.
The Most High-Risk Jobs
Many occupations expose their workers to unsafe levels of noise. Below is a look at the biggest offenders.
Sixty-one percent of Mining sector workers are exposed to occupational noise, the highest of any industry, and 23% report having hearing difficulty. Miners are often exposed to high decibel levels from their equipment such as drill machines and haul trucks.
The Construction sector has the second-highest prevalence of noise exposure, at 51%, and 14% of all workers in this sector report hearing difficulty. Construction works rely on several tools that produce sounds far higher than 85 dB including bulldozers, trucks, nail guns and jackhammers.
Forty-seven percent of Manufacturing sector workers are exposed to occupational noise, ranking third highest, and 18% report having hearing difficulty. The machinery used in manufacturing, such as cutting machinery, milling operations and even glass bottling lines, are all incredibly loud.
How to Protect Yourself
While your workplace may be putting your hearing at risk, that does not mean you are guaranteed to develop hearing loss. Occupational hearing loss is preventable if you follow these steps:
- Limit your exposure to loud sounds and move away from the source whenever possible.
- Wear hearing protection such as earplugs, earmuffs or headsets.
- Turn down the volume of your communication devices, such as two-way radios, as low as you can while still safely hearing your communication partner.
- Take listening breaks to give your ears time to recover.
If your work does not supply hearing protection, visit Ace Hardware in Plano and discuss your hearing protection needs with one of their knowledgeable sales associates.
If you think you may have developed occupational hearing loss, now is the time to do something about it. Contact the experts at Sharp Hearing – The Audiology Center today to schedule a hearing evaluation.