Whether you are working in manufacturing or construction, as a pilot or as a farmer, you are going to be exposed to loud noise. Working around loud noises can be difficult and it can cause a range of different issues to occur for you. Some people are able to work in that loud environment, but they can only do that when they are equipped and protected enough that their hearing isn’t going to be compromised. Yep, your hearing is going to be at risk if you don’t wear the right ear defenders or have fitted earplugs while you work. The problem is that so many don’t protect themselves as they’re just not aware of the risks to their health as a result.
Continued exposure to excessive noise could result in any of the following issues:
- Hearing loss
- Speech interference
- Disturbed sleep
- Concentration issues
How your body reacts to loud noise depends on you. The cortisol levels in your body can rise, and the stress can lead to even further side effects. The stress levels rising in your body can lead to a higher heart rate, raised blood pressure, hypertension, headaches and – in the most extreme cases – heart attacks. Initially, high levels of noise in the workplace may not affect your hearing, and then slowly over time you notice high-pitched whining and ringing, which is called tinnitus, which you can learn more about online and with your doctor. This is an indicator that there has been permanent damage done to your ears and the hair cells in the inner ear are irreversibly damaged, too.
There are different types of hearing loss that can result from high levels of noise. Long-term hearing loss can occur over many years. What you think is not a high level of noise will actually be affecting your ears, and you won’t even know it! You need to be aware of what exposure to excessive noise can do to you, and the chances of sustaining hearing loss over time increases substantially if you continue to expose yourself to that noise. Your employer is supposed to have a handle on the level of noise in the workplace, and health and safety laws should be abided by to ensure it. If you feel like your employer is not adhering to these laws, they need to be reported so that others won’t suffer, too.
The other consideration that you need to make is that if you’re exposed to excessive noise at work and then are further exposed to loud noise through your headphones or in leisure time, you are creating some of the problem. Knowing whether you are unnecessarily exposing yourself to high levels of noise in your leisure time is as important as knowing whether your workplace is deafening you because they are not adhering to health and safety.
Noise induced hearing loss is permanent, though painless, and if you are in a situation where there is sudden loud noise, you could find your hearing immediately affected. This can happen with stamping presses, industrial machinery and even nail guns.
As we age, our ability to hear certain pitches and tones changes and with exposure, this speeds up. You shouldn’t have to go to work and be unable to hear your colleagues due to the level of noise destroying your hearing. Noise induced hearing loss is commonly linked to those with communication issues in the workplace. Too severe, and you could need the help of hearing aids and even have to leave your working environment. The relationships that you have outside of work suffer, too, and this leads to isolation and low productivity. You’ll be unable to hear your boss, your team and even the noise of the machinery in the workplace indicating that there is a problem. Workplace noise has to be under 85dB to be safe, or you should be wearing ear protectors and other measures to keep your hearing intact.
If you notice that you’re spending more time raising your voice in the workplace and your ears are ringing after each shift, you can bet that you’re dealing with hearing issues. The best thing that you can do here is speak to your employer about what’s going on and make suggestions as to how to fix the problem. If you don’t get any response, escalate until you can get someone in to assess the level of noise in your workplace. You deserve to work in an environment that puts your health first. Your hearing matters as much as any other aspect of your health. Don’t take it for granted.