excessive noise and hearing damage

Excessive Noise and Your Hearing: A Common Workplace Hazard

Hearing loss caused by excessive noise in the workplace is one of the most common workplace injuries. In the United States, 22 million workers are exposed to excessive noise every single year. That’s the bad news. The good news is that hearing loss is largely preventable when the proper steps are taken by employees and their employers.

Have you suffered permanent hearing loss or other injuries due to hazards at work? If so, you may have a workers’ compensation claim. Get started on your claim now by calling Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880.

Which Industries Have This Problem?

While excessive noise can happen in any industry or work setting, there are environments where this risk is significantly higher. Some of the industries with the highest rates of occupational noise include:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting
  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction
  • Maritime and offshore work
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Music and entertainment

Remember, it’s not just the volume that matters. It’s also the duration of the excessive noise that can impact your hearing. Short bursts of extremely loud noise can be extremely damaging, but so can constant exposure to moderately loud noise. Keep that in mind when thinking about whether or not your hearing issues are tied to your workplace.

Signs of Excessive Noise

Wondering if you may have suffered hearing loss or other injuries due to excessive workplace noise? First, think about what your noise level is at work. You can measure it with a smartphone app that measures the decibels of the noise around you. If you have to shout to be heard by a coworker that is one arm’s length away from you, you may also be in an excessively loud workplace.

Some symptoms that indicate exposure to excessive noise include:

  • Ringing or humming in your ears upon leaving work
  • Temporary hearing loss after leaving your workplace
  • Difficulty discerning speech or understanding conversations
  • Needing a higher volume than other people when you listen to music or watch television
  • Difficulty figuring out where a noise is coming from
  • Greater level of concentration needed to understand conversations

Long-Term Health Effects

There are several health issues that can affect workers in noisy environments. Some of the most common include:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss. Exposure to excessive noise can permanently damage your hearing. It damages the inner ear’s ability to hear and process sound. Unfortunately, many workers wait far too long to seek help with this issue. On average, someone with hearing loss waits 10 years from the start of the hearing loss to seek medical attention for it. That’s why it’s important to get a checkup every year and watch for gradual hearing loss.
  • If you experience constant or frequent ringing in your ears, you may be suffering from tinnitus. While this condition can occur because of consistent exposure to low-level noise, the risk is much greater if you experience random exposure to loud noise. Those who have tinnitus often suffer from affected speech and poor sleep.
  • Pregnancy concerns. If a pregnant woman is around excessive noise, it can actually endanger the health of her unborn child. Long-term exposure can affect a baby’s hearing and leave them with hearing problems as they grow up.

In addition to health concerns, excessive noise can also put workers at greater risk for other accidents and injuries. Excessive noise can be distracting to drivers, leading to a greater risk of vehicle accidents at construction sites. Workers may have a hard time hearing instructions, which puts them at risk of doing their job incorrectly or unsafely. Loud noise can also hide warning signals and signs of approaching danger.

What to Do If You Suffer Hearing Loss

If you suspect that you have health issues due to your workplace’s noise levels, it’s time to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. You may be entitled to money for your medical treatment and the time you spend away from work to heal. The earlier you address hearing loss, the more you are able to manage it.

Start Your Workers’ Compensation Claim with Thiry & Caddell

Thiry & Caddell should be your first call after a workplace accident or injury. We’re dedicated to helping workers get the compensation they deserve. To set up a time to talk, contact us online or call us at 251-478-8880.

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