Hearing Loss: Most Common Workplace Injury In The U.S
Traditionally when we think of occupational injuries we think about a slip or a fall, but hearing loss and impairment is one of the most common workplace injury. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work”. Proportionally, $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability.
The standards and regulations for noise level exposure should be advertised at your place of work. General industry workers are exposed to a time-weighted average of 85 decibels over an eight hour time period. For an eight hour work day the limit is 90 decibels.
Some workers think they are not at risk to occupational hearing loss because they do not work with loud equipment. Surprisingly, the workers exposed to moderate level noise at work while not using hearing protection are also susceptible to hearing loss and impairment. According to Mark Cullen, an expert in workplace hazards, those who work at very high noise exposure environments wear hearing protection which decreases the chances of impairment. In order to inform workers and update workplace regulations, the Department of Labor encourages the public to create innovative ideas and technology to forewarn about the potential risks and promote workers to become knowledgeable about occupational hearing loss hazards.
If you are concerned about the noise level exposure you are enduring at work, make sure you speak with your employer about the hearing protection available. If the noise is hindering your everyday life and causing other health concerns, contact Optimal Hearing for a hearing test.