If you have ever come home from work with your ears ringing, take it as a warning sign that your hearing is at risk.
Hearing loss does not receive the attention of more dramatic workplace accidents, yet the long-term effect can be worse. You might not realize how important hearing is until you lose it. Aside from the obvious things such as making conversations difficult, it could affect your safety, your ability to earn a living and your enjoyment of life.
How does hearing loss occur?
While it can happen due to a one-off loud event such as an explosion, often, it creeps up on you. You start a new job and find it loud at first. Gradually you get used to the noise, assuming it is normal without realizing the damage it is doing. Then one day, you notice you struggle to hear what people are saying.
Around a quarter of all people who suffer hearing loss do so due to work. Noise becomes dangerously loud at 85 decibels or above. If you are unsure how loud your workplace is, you can download free apps to your phone to measure it. If you need to talk louder than normal so that someone at arm’s length can hear you, it is already around that level. Loudness is not the only factor. How long you are exposed to the noise also plays a role.
Employers need to protect their workers. They should give you hearing protection equipment and take steps to isolate the thing making the noise. If it is already too late, you should seek legal help to find out your options to claim workers’ compensation benefits.