Workers can develop permanent hearing loss when they are exposed to loud noises in the workplace. Noise-induced hearing loss is more common than you may realize; according to the CDC, about 22 million workers are affected each year.
Workers are exposed to a number of sounds each day. However, occupational noise becomes dangerous to a worker’s hearing when it exceeds 85 decibels. Any noise louder than 85 decibels can damage the delicate hairs in the inner ear. This is why it is important for workers to protect their hearing.
Here are four ways you can protect yourself:
1. Wear hearing protection
Wearing hearing protection like ear plugs and ear muffs reduce the volume of sounds, which can protect you from hearing loss.
2. Limit Exposure
If you work in a factory or are surrounded by loud noises at work, be sure to take frequent breaks.
If you work in an office, you are at risk too. Office workers often listen to music while working. You should monitor how loud you listen to music.
3. Check with Employer
If you work in an at-risk occupation, ask your employer if the job site has an effective program in place to protect your hearing.
4. Hearing Exam
The best way to protect your hearing is to get regular hearing tests. Sometimes, we can damage our hearing without knowing it. Some warning signs to look for are buzzing or ringing in the ear, trouble hearing others or fullness in the ear.
OHC believes prevention is better than the cure. So, whether you work in an office or a factory, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your hearing.