What is occupational hearing loss?
Being exposed to loud sounds in work environment, without necessary protection for your ears, can cause various types of hearing loss. In some cases a complete deafness, high or low frequency hearing loss and others. In case you switched to a new work environment that has unpleasant noise that is very loud, you need to get some safety gear for your ears, as well as get educated on hearing loss workers compensation.
To be more precise on what exactly happens, when occupational hearing loss occurs, the inner ear gets damaged from the loud sound which is basically a more intense vibration inside your inner ear, that causes damaged to the tiny hairs that receive the sounds. So if you are working next to a very loud machine for prolonged period of time it will most certainly cause some sort of damage to your ear. That is why the safety gear is must have in cases like these.
Every prolonged exposure to sounds over 90 decibels is harmful for your ears. To be able to track the noise level around you you can use an app for a phone or tablet. This way you can be extra cautious at all times, and know when the noise is too loud.
Here is a list of some of the most common loud workplace environments:
- Airline ground maintenance
- Fire department
- Stage workers
This list could go on, but we will stick with the main ones.
Occupational Hearing Loss Symptoms
Hearing loss occurs after longer periods of time, and it is difficult recognize minor hearing loss immediately. But the sooner you realize that you suffered hearing loss, the sooner you will be able to act upon it and prevent further loss. Remember that the hearing loss is irreversible, so the first instant you notice a slightest hearing loss, you need to do something about it. Whether it is using safety gear or just avoiding the places where you suffered the loss.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Muffled hearing
- Difficulty understanding conversations followed by background noise
- Listening to Television or radio on higher volume than before
- Depression caused by hearing loss affecting your social life
- Avoiding communicating and socializing due to problem understanding other people
- Ear ringing
- Ear irritation, itching
- Fluid leaking from the ear (An infection that may be causing the hearing loss)
As soon as you notice one of these symptoms, you should consult an audiologist or have a ct scan or x-ray scan to have a clear picture of what is going on with your hearing.
Prevention and coping
Once the hearing loss has occurred, there is no going back unfortunately. However there are several things you can do to prevent further loss, and improve your communication and social skills. First thing to do is to use the ear plugs while working in the loud environment that caused the loss, or ask to be relocated somewhere less harmful to your ears. To avoid depression and being cast out due to hearing loss, you can practice lip reading and use appropriate hearing aid.