When thinking of workplace injury or illness you may imagine extreme accidents or cancers caused by chemicals such as asbestos. These do occur but hearing loss claims are one of the highest reported health issues caused by work. Hearing loss is caused gradually over time and used to be blamed on old age. Although it does occur naturally with age, hearing loss is regularly caused by loud noise due to working environments.
Hearing loss can be caused by noises of 85dB and over. The louder the noise, the shorter the exposure has to be to do damage. You may be thinking of extreme noises such as explosions which could cause hearing loss but a vacuum cleaner is of a volume that can make someone deaf. An extreme sound such as an explosion can cause instant hearing loss.
Loud noises cause hearing loss by damaging the hairs inside the ear that pick up vibrations and convert them into the sounds we hear. When these hairs are damaged they become limp and don’t pick up as much sound, thus hearing loss. With noise-induced hearing loss, you will struggle to hear high-frequency noises. This is how it is possible to determine that the hearing loss was caused by work as your low-frequency hearing will remain fine. You may find that you struggle to hear the TV or female voices.
Many professions expose workers to noises of dangerous levels and if employers don’t protect their staff from these, they are breaking the law. If you have developed hearing loss due to work you could make a hearing loss claim. If you are exposed to the noise of 85dB or over you should be provided with hearing protection, which could be ear muffs or earplugs. You are advised to raise the issue if you aren’t as your job could doing damage to your hearing right now. The damage done is usually permanent so the sooner you act the better.