Preventing Hearing Loss at Work
Most people know that continuous or regular exposure to loud noises can affect your hearing. There are many ways to control the amount of noise around us, but many people still have to be exposed to loud noises at work due to the nature of the work they do. The CDC estimates that over 20 million workers are exposed to damaging noise levels every year at work. Regardless of the work you do or the industry you work in, preventing hearing loss is crucial for your health and well-being. Below, we look at some of the best ways to prevent hearing loss in workplaces.
Understanding Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
This is a type of hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises. If you do not take measures to protect yourself and your hearing, you increase your risk of developing hearing loss if you are continuously or regularly exposed to loud noise. It is also important to remember that the level of noise is inversely related to the time it takes to develop hearing loss. The louder the noise, the shorter the time.
People who have noise-induced hearing loss typically experience:
- Issues hearing when taking phone calls.
- Missing words in conversation.
- Difficulty understanding others in crowded or loud environments.
- Being unable to hear what someone has said even though people near you say they heard it.
- The need to increase the volume on their televisions, radios, and other devices.
Clearing Up a Misconception About Hearing Loss
Many people mistakenly think that only people who work in certain occupations are susceptible to hearing loss. For example, musicians, construction workers, and airport ground crew will experience issues at a higher level than other workers.
However, anyone who works in an environment where there are constant high noise levels is at risk. Some workspaces you might not have considered include retail stores, daycare centers, restaurants, arcades, and casinos.
Smart Habits That Prevent Hearing Loss
A habit that can help you prevent hearing loss at work is wearing ear protection as much as possible. If you wear earplugs, ensure they fit well and provide the protection you need. Also, consider getting noise-canceling headphones if your work allows for it.
Remember that different earplugs and headphones provide different levels of protection, so you might have to switch a few times until you find ones that work for you.
Limit Exposure to Noise
Depending on where you work, you might get an opportunity to give your ears some time to recoup. If you do, you should take it. Take some time to step aside and move to a quieter area to give your ears a rest. Doing so is especially important in industries where your ears will be exposed to high noise levels for multiple hours.
If you have different projects to work on where you will be exposed to loud noise, slot in quieter activities to limit exposure.
Do Not Compete With Noise
Some people go down the route of using a high volume on their headsets so they do not have to hear the noise of the environment and of whatever equipment they are using. Doing so does not help because they have just transferred the source of the noise and brought it even closer to their ear drums.
The best thing to do is to get a pair of high-quality noise-canceling headphones. Doing so will help you reduce noise without trying to compete with it, which will help reduce your risk of hearing loss.
Keep The Volume Low
Many people listen to music on their headphones while at work. Doing so is perfectly fine depending on your workplace’s policies, but you have to be careful about noise levels. A good way to know whether the volume is too high is to ask someone close to you if they can hear whatever you are listening to. If they can, turn it down.
Another great way to ensure that the volume is not too high is ensuring the volume never goes past 60%. Many devices will now ask you if you want to raise your volume past this level, which can make you know that you are about to listen at a volume that could be damaging.
Get an Annual Hearing Exam
Everyone who works in a loud environment should get a hearing exam every year. Doing so will help you determine whether you have hearing loss. An audiologist can give you additional advice on how to preserve your hearing. To find an audiologist, search for an audiologist near me and then make an appointment.
Once you complete the hearing loss test, they will advise you on the next steps, including whether you will need hearing aids now or in the future.
Taking steps to protect your hearing is very important, especially if you work in a loud environment. It is also a good idea to go for annual hearing exams to determine if you should be taking additional measures to protect your hearing.
Please note that this post was written by a third-party and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arab America or its employees. These posts help allow Arab America to produce our wonderful original content, thanks for your understanding.
Don’t forget to check out Arab America’s blog!