One of the kinds of injuries that doesn’t get enough attention is the workplace is harm caused by high noise levels. Noise is a true hazard. It can lead to deafness, either temporarily or permanently. It can also lead to other injuries from workers being unable to hear what’s happening in the surrounding environment.
Workers who are involved in jobs that expose them to high levels of sound need to take steps to protect themselves. For every decibel of hearing loss, the risk of hospitalization for work-related injuries increases by 1%. For example, if you’re working with noise levels around the same volume as standing next to a lawnmower, then your risk of a workplace injury more than doubles. That includes the risk of hearing loss, as well as other injuries.
Noise-induced hearing loss is different than hearing loss caused by loud noises. Noise-induced hearing loss refers to the temporary inability to hear things happening around you because of noise. When the noise is loud enough, it is possible to suffer permanent hearing loss.
Heavy noise exposure can lead to hearing loss
Most employers already know that workers who are in a workplace environment with intense noise for extended periods are more likely to lose their hearing. They also have 3.6 times higher risk of being hospitalized for workplace injuries. So, what this means is that employers have two reasons to reduce noise levels. The first is to protect workers’ hearing. The second is to make sure that fewer accidents happen because of being unaware of the surroundings due to too much noise.
If noise is a necessary part of the job, workers should use hearing protection, like ear plugs or safety headphones. Employers should also implement visual signals that can warn their workers of the dangers that may be around them, like moving belts or machinery that is turning on. Being able to visualize what’s happening can help everyone, especially if hearing loss (or a reduction in the ability to hear) is prominent in that workplace.
Hearing clearly is the solution that can prevent workplace injuries in many cases. Knowing that there are problems or threats in the workplace may come down to being able to hear a warning, shout for help or other verbal cues. Keeping down volume levels will help more people avoid injury and help those who are injured in less time.