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How to Prevent Hearing Loss at Work

24th March 2016

You may think a noisy workplace isn’t a big deal. After all, you’ll get used to it eventually, right? But when you’re taking in noise for 8+ hours a day, it can lead to potentially permanent damage to your ears.

If not treated or looked after, this can lead to irreparable hearing loss. If you feel like your workplace could be damaging your ears, read on for some tips.

Know Your Limits

While limits might vary from place to place, an acceptable noise level to be exposed to is about 85 decibels (dB) over the course of an 8-hour day. While noises over 85 decibels aren’t guaranteed to harm hearing, this is a good general guide to how much noise you should be exposed to. If you or a manager measure the noises at work and they’re found to be consistently over 85 decibels, it could be a good idea to work with the company to find ways to reduce this level.

Sudden noises over 140 dB such as explosions or loud equipment can cause potentially severe hearing damage, so action should be taken if this is a regular occurrence at your workplace.

Ear Protection

If you find yourself around constant noises, invest in a comfortable and effective pair of earmuffs. Many people who work with loud tools and around noisy workplaces such as construction yards wear ear protection and you should too. At many worksites, it’s even mandatory. If you think loud noises are affecting your hearing at work, you should not only invest in ear muffs or plugs but perhaps consider talking to management about issuing ear protection for other staff members.

Turn it Down

If you’re in a workplace that allows you to listen to music while you work, be careful with how loud you set the volume. While your favourite tunes will always sound better with the volume cranked up, spending hours around loud music can take its toll on your ears. If you do listen to music at work, make sure the volume is at a manageable and comfortable volume. If you work in a place where you can’t control the volume of music, such as a bar or club, try to take breaks outside when you can to give your ears a rest. If you find the level of noise reaches uncomfortable levels, talk to your management or supervisor about potential solutions.

Substitute

If your workplace’s processes are overly noisy, it’s a good idea to look into quieter alternatives. When working in construction sites, plants and factories, suggest to management ways to keep things a little quieter. This can include using different materials in manufacturing, quieter tools and equipment or looking at ways to insulate the noisiest areas.

While many workplaces will be noisy by nature, it’s important to recognise if your daily job could be causing irreparable harm to your ears. If you find yourself uncomfortable due to the level of noise at work, having trouble hearing once a shift is over, or you aren’t hearing as well as you’re used to, then action should be taken swiftly. If you’re unsure, specialists such as Independent Hearing Solutions can test for hearing loss and ear damage and also offer you advice and products that can help keep your hearing intact.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.