There are many different types of injuries that can occur in any kind of industrial workplace setting. Some of which are more visible than others, especially since some of the more severe injuries can occur without an individual knowing how, when or what it is happening to them.
One of the most common involves hearing loss in noisy environments. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to avoid employees being adversely affected by these hazardous conditions. One of the most beneficial involves educating management and health and safety personnel well in advance so that they can pass the knowledge that they have learned on.
That being said, here’s some invaluable information that these professionals must know about noisy work environments, specifically as it relates to the effect that these environments have on a worker’s hearing, the symptoms, and the methods used for prevention.
The Effect of loud noise
According to various reports released by OSHA (Occupational Safety Health and Administration), approximately 22 million workers are exposed to loud noises that can cause significant damage to their hearing on an annual basis.
Therefore, it is important for everyone involved in managing and overseeing the health and safety of their workers to be aware of how the noise that emits from the workplace can result in hearing loss.
Simply put, when workers are exposed to continual loud noises in the workplace for long periods of time, the protective agents (hair cells and cilia inside the ears) are completely worn down. Once this occurs, the individual can begin to experience symptoms of hearing loss.
Warning Signs of a Noisy Workplace
Since workplace noise is more common than not, specifically in some work environments, OSHA has not only addressed the issue of how much noise is damaging the worker hearing, they have also identified warning signs that everyone should look for. Three of the more notable are listed below.
- Worker hears ringing or some kind of humming in their ears when they are leaving the job.
- People have to shout in these environments if they want to be heard by their management and their coworkers, even when they are at arm’s length.
- Workers may experience temporary hearing loss from time to time when they leave work.
Symptoms of hearing loss
When people work in these environments for long periods of time without the proper safety measures, they may begin to experience symptoms of hearing loss. So, for those of you who are interested in what you should look for, here’s a list of some of the common symptoms.
- People have problems hearing consonants
- Causes people to ask others around them to speak more clearly, slowly, and loudly
- Expected to turn up the volume of the television and radio when others can hear just fine.
- Begins to withdraw from conversations with others
- Avoids social settings
- Sounds around them become Muffled
- When in crowds, this group of people have Difficulty understanding words, specifically when it involves background noises.
Prevention and Cures for Hearing Loss
Now that the problems and the symptoms have been identified, the next step is to learn how to prevent hearing loss as well as address cures that can eliminate hearing loss problems.
Fortunately, management and safety professionals in these companies can help to prevent these concerns by following the standard health and safety regulations.
Encourage Regular Hearing Exams
Identifying the problem first is one of the essential steps in eliminating and fixing problems with potential hearing loss. When people attend these exams on a regular basis, a physician can keep up with the status of each individual to make sure that they will not be adversely affected.
Also, safety and health organizations normally recommend limiting the sounds in a factory environment in a number of different ways. One of the more popular methods involves the use of engineering controls to minimize the loud sounds.
Wear Industrial Ear Plugs
When people work in this kind of environment, it is important that they are familiar with the noisy sounds and how they will affect their hearing. In most cases, people can avoid these issues by wearing industrial ear plugs.
When people wear a pair of industrial ear plugs, it can help to stop the potential for hearing loss. This is because these plugs can block out the loud background noises that damages the hearing, while the person concentrates more on what they are doing on their jobs.
If people want the maximum protection and benefits, it is important for them to wear them every time they enter the industrial settings to work.
Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatments available for people who have suffered from this hazard. These treatments will vary based on the individual. However, these treatments may include prescriptions for a specific kind of hearing aid, surgical intervention or implants.
Working any kind of industrial setting can expose people to a wide variety of different hazards. Some of which can be avoided if the worker has the right information and accessories available to them.
One common problem in noisy industrial environments is the potential for hearing loss so people need to know what they can do to protect themselves and their staff, while also seeking the right kind of treatment in the event that there is some kind of hearing loss.