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An overview of occupational noise exposure

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2021 | Workplace Accidents, Workplace Injuries |

Having hearing loss remains a difficult subject to alleviate in the workplace for both employers and workers. This is true in part because many hearing injuries occur over time, due to cumulative noise levels that do not always seem harmful on a daily basis.

Some hearing injuries do happen quickly as the result of explosions, trauma and chemicals.

A large concern

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information that hearing loss impacts many workers each year. This happens in a wide variety of industries, ranging from construction, airlines and sports stadiums. In fact, each year as many as 22 million workers face conditions that could lead to some level of hearing loss.

The health effects of exposure to frequent loud noises include the killing of nerve endings in the ears. The more a person encounters high decibel levels the more nerve endings die. This can result in permanent hearing loss that surgery or medicine cannot reverse.

The responsibility of employers

The onus for dealing with hearing loss falls largely upon employers according to current laws and regulations. Companies must ensure that noise levels do not exceed 85 decibels when averaged over an eight-hour working day. In some situations, businesses must enact hearing conservation programs and provide PPE to prevent hearing loss.

Workers should always keep a close watch on hearing concerns, especially if they work in a loud environment. Warning signs workers should pay attention to include the ringing or humming in the ears and a temporary loss of hearing after work. They should also understand that hearing loss includes many subtle signs and that they have the right to request hearing tests from employers.