Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when the delicate hair cells within your inner ear are damaged from sounds measuring more than 85 decibels (dB). When this occurs at work, it is known as occupational hearing loss. While this type of hearing loss is unfortunately common, it can be prevented. Continue reading to learn more about which jobs put your ears at the most risk and what you can do about it.
Occupational Hearing Loss
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 common industries that may cause hearing loss are:
According to experts, 61% of Mining sector workers are exposed to occupational noise, the highest of any industry, and 23% report having hearing difficulty. Miners rely on loud and heavy machinery to do their jobs, 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 workers are on loud job sites for hours each day using a wide variety of machines. Unfortunately, most tools construction workers rely on produce dangerously loud sounds. Some of the most common tools include jackhammers, nail guns, drills and bulldozers.
Roughly 47% of Manufacturing sector workers are exposed to occupational noise, ranking third highest, and 18% report having hearing difficulty. Workers in the manufacturing industry spend their day using complex machinery in loud workrooms. There is a wide variety of loud manufacturing equipment from glass bottling lines to milling operations.
Jobs in the airline industry can expose you to a wide range of dangerous loud sounds, from baggage handlers to aircraft maintenance workers. Even the flight crew up in the air may be damaging their hearing, as take-off can produce sounds as loud as 130 dB.
Whether you are on stage or working in the back of Music on the Half Shell Stage or other local music shows, every event puts your hearing at risk.
Protect Your Hearing
Noise-induced hearing loss is both permanent and preventable. Follow these tips to protect your hearing health.
- Move away from the source of the loud sound to limit your exposure whenever possible.
- Wear hearing protection such as earplugs, earmuffs or headsets.
- Turn down the volume of your communication devices as low as possible while still being able to safely hear your communication partner.
- Take listening breaks to give your ears time to recover.
To learn more about occupational hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact The Audiology Offices today.