Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014

Hearing Conservation in the Workplace

Worker wears hearing protection

According to the Center for Disease Control, “30 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise on the job and an additional nine million are at risk for hearing loss from other agents such as solvents and metals.” Hearing loss in the workplace is the number one reported work related injury in the United States. That's why National Hearing Conservation Association has developed guidelines to help workers recognize the dangers of noise at work.

Hearing loss at work often happens when the delicate hairs within the inner ear are broken. These hairs help conduct sound and noise, sudden or over a long time, can bend or break them. This breakage can result in temporary and permanent hearing loss, unless hearing protection is used. There are many different reasons to take care of your hearing at work:

  • Hearing loss at work can result both from harmful noise levels and from exposure to dangerous chemicals.
  • A man of twenty who works with and around noisy equipment was recently found to have the hearing of a man around fifty.
  • People with untreated hearing loss are generally paid less than those who have treated their hearing loss.
  • Untreated hearing loss can have long-term consequences for the brain and has been linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Untreated hearing loss can increase isolation and depression.
  • Loud equipment is one of the top ways workers can injure their hearing on the job.
  • The cost of hearing loss for the military, government, and individuals could run into the billions each year.
  • Not only is machinery in manufacturing dangerous, but also transportation equipment and tools of the trade that might not be obvious, like a hairdresser's hairdryer.
  • Hearing loss is the number one self-reported and one of the most common risk factors for American workers.
  • Below is a video that explains hearing loss at work and ways to prevent it.

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