Occupational hearing loss is one of the leading workplace injuries worldwide. Hearing hazards in the workplace can result in significant hearing loss. In many cases, this is completely preventable. Construction sites, music and event venues, emergency responders, and manufacturing are just a few lines of profession that can put your hearing at risk.
Protecting your hearing at work is the first step to preventing occupational hearing loss. Understanding common occupational hearing risks can help you take proactive, preventative measures ahead of time. We’re taking a closer look at common occupational hearing hazards that could impact your hearing over a prolonged period of time.
Common Occupational Hearing Risks
Unfortunately, casual day-to-day exposure to dangerous levels of noise is sometimes unpreventable. However, this doesn’t mean that if you work in a noisy environment that you should be complacent.
Employers are required to provide their employees with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform their jobs safely. This includes hearing protection for employees working in dangerous noise.
Repeated exposure to loud noise can result in temporary hearing loss or tinnitus. In some cases, it can result in permanent noise induced hearing loss. Profound hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, impact your productivity, and cause you stress. These can all increase your risk of accidents in the workplace.
You can help protect your hearing at work by understanding some of the more common occupational noise hazards.
- Heavy Machinery – Most pieces of heavy machinery include a certain amount of occupational noise. Construction and agricultural facilities, industrial manufacturing and processing plants typically all use large, loud equipment.
- Pneumatic Tools – High-pressured air power tools can be loud! If you regularly use pneumatic tools and don’t use hearing protection, these tools can cause hearing loss.
- Impact Tools – Drop hammers, riveters, and drop forges are examples of heavy impact tools that can result in workplace hearing loss.
- Environments with Consistent, Loud Noise – Bars, music venues, amusement parks or hairdressers are all examples of a loud working environment.
- Workshops or Auto Shops – Employees in workshops and auto shops will regularly be using power tools and / or heavy equipment. In some cases, the equipment can be very loud. Make sure you’re taking the appropriate measures to protect your hearing.
- Construction Zones – Construction and development zones present a host of occupational hazards. Hearing loss is among the risks posed by a construction site. The use of heavy, loud equipment during construction can put you at risk of occupational hearing loss.
The level of noise in your workplace should be monitored. If volumes consistently exceed 85 decibels in an 8-hour working period, action should be taken to protect employees from exposure to dangerous noise. If alterations to the noisy equipment are not an option, employees should be supplied with the appropriate protective equipment for their hearing.
If you believe that your working environment is putting your hearing at risk, we recommend speaking to your supervisor. Let them know that you’re concerned about the occupational hearing risks, and ensure that the appropriate PPE is provided.
Contact Us Today!
Occupational hearing loss is, in most cases, preventable. If you’d like to book in a hearing assessment to check for any hearing loss, the team at Hearing, Balance & Speech Center would be happy to help. Call us on (203) 208-3678 or request an appointment online.