Although in most cases it goes unnoticed, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common health problems in the United States of America.
Most people who reported to have normal hearing when they started working, often end up with the hearing loss after a while. That is because of the exposure to extremely loud noises in workplaces.
The damage is quite severe and life-altering. Exposure to high noise levels can lead to temporary or even permanent ear damage. In this article, we are going to discuss the average hearing loss in the USA. What’s more, I will add any relevant information that might be of help.
How common is hearing loss in the USA?
Exposure to high levels of noise is one of the major reasons for hearing loss. What’s more, occupationally induced hearing loss is at the center of this problem. A big percentage of the industries we have today produce high noise levels.
An average of about 25% of hearing loss cases in the USA is somehow related to workplaces.
As reported by CDC, hearing loss contributes to about 14% of work-related illnesses in the USA. Especially in manufacturing industries, the workers are exposed to extreme noise levels from the machines (over 89 dB).
How does it occur?
You can easily develop hearing loss when you fail to protect your ears from loud noises. Unfortunately, those who work in certain industries are more prone to suffer from hearing loss. That is because of the nature of their work.
Such industries include manufacturing industries, construction, and any other loud environment. If you are working in any of the above industries, you are more prone to developing hearing loss more than the average person.
Most countries always regulate against noisy industries to deal with the problem. It’s difficult not to be affected by a company’s noise disturbance while you are actually working on it. However, keep on reading and I will show you how to deal with such a problem.
Tips on how to prevent hearing loss
1. Using earplugs
Earplugs are able to guard against the noise disturbances in any industry.
Most industries will provide their workers with protective barrier earplugs that will help you protect your ears. That will help you control the disturbances and also keep your ears healthy.
As a worker in any noise-related industries, you need to get some kind of training that will help you deal with the noise problem. This training is supposed to cover some of the basics on how to protect yourself against hearing loss.
What’s more, you should get training on the diagnosis of some of the early signs of hearing loss.
Never stay at the source of the noise disturbance for too long. Your company should involve you in a shift program that will limit the amount of time you spend exposed to the noise.
According to research done on the subways, even fifteen minutes of exposure to the busy station might result in hearing loss.
4. Audiometric Evaluation
This is a procedure that will evaluate if you’re being protected from the noise levels to prevent any occupational hearing loss.
Your industry management is supposed to allocate enough resources and funds to this program hence accurately testing if the audiograms are effective.
5. Keep records
You need to start monitoring the amount of time you spend next to the noisy machines. More importantly, the management should have a record of all the machines that might cause a noise disturbance.
This will help them evaluate if their audiometric program is running effectively.
6. Program evaluation
Programs require some evaluation to prove their effectiveness. This will help the industry plus the workers know if the strategies are worth it or there’s little or no impact.
7. Be aware of the Warning Signs
Be cautious of the signs that show you might be exposed to too much noise. If you start hearing a buzzing sound after work, then you need to go for a check-up.
More to that, if you start noticing people are talking but it’s getting harder to understand them every day then you need to watch out.
8. Regular visits to the doctor
As a worker in a noisy environment, you need to be mindful of the state of your ear. Take time to schedule regular visits to your doctor.
That way, in case of any issue, you will be able to deal with it while it’s still in its initial stages.
About one-third of hearing problems are preventable by some of the strategies I mentioned above.
That is why you need to keep your family and friends on how to deal with hearing loss.
This is a critical problem that might be around for quite some time. You only need to know how to deal with it.