National Safety Month: Protecting Your Hearing
June is National Safety Month, and a vital part of taking care of your health is protecting your hearing. Occupational noise exposure is an ever-growing problem in the workplace. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Whether you work in a factory, with power tools, in a smoothie shop, or at a sports stadium, your hearing could be at risk. Here are some tips to help protect your hearing every day!
Recognize the Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If you are unsure of the noise levels in your place of work, it can be difficult to know whether you should be concerned. Some good indicators that excessive noise may be a problem in your workplace are:
- Hearing a ringing in your ears when you leave work.
- Having to shout to be heard by your coworkers who are an arm’s length away.
- Experiencing temporary hearing loss when you leave work.
These are all signs that your hearing is affected. Further, these symptoms could lead to permanent damage and hearing loss.
How is the Hearing Damaged Caused?
Exposure to loud noise kills the nerve endings in the inner ear. Repeated exposure will result in more dead nerve endings. The result is permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected through surgery or with medicine. Consequently, noise-induced hearing loss limits your ability to hear high-frequency sounds and understand speech, therefore seriously impairing your communication abilities. Hearing aids will help, but they do not restore your hearing.
Wear Hearing Protection
The acceptable threshold of sound is 85 decibels (dB). Commercial or industrial machinery can register over 100 decibels, and power tools can range anywhere from 90 dB to 114 dB!
Did you know there are government regulations aimed at protecting employees’ hearing? OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels, averaged over 8-working hours.
It is crucial to wear hearing protection to preserve your hearing ability, such as earplugs. Earplugs will protect your hearing from dangerously loud sounds and can even prevent hearing loss. Legally, employers must provide these safety measures at no cost to employees.
Have Your Hearing Checked
If it has been some time since you’ve had your hearing checked, you should schedule a hearing evaluation. Furthermore, it is imperative to monitor your hearing annually if you work in a noisy environment. The earlier you catch hearing loss, the better! This June, for National Safety Month, be proactive about protecting your hearing! Contact the HASA hearing health clinic and schedule an appointment with someone from our audiology team. Call 410-318-6780 or click here today!