There is a term that is quite well known in the world of job related injury claims: industrial deafness. It is an alarmingly frequent issue that can creep up, especially in certain work environments. This form of deafness occurs when noises caused by equipment, the area where work is being performed, or other noises reaches above safe levels.
Due to injuries in the past, a regulation has been passed that limits all on-the-job noise to within 80dB, and requires all employees to be provided with adequate ear protection at the expense of the company. Anything above the 80dB mark can become dangerous, and cause strain to the eardrums.
Any employer who does not provide adequate ear protection, or who does not properly train all employees on site about the risks and proper procedures to protect their hearing, may be liable to damages. Employees who do not follow procedures properly may be subject to job termination, due to presenting this liability to the company.
What Industries Is Industrial Deafness Most Commonly Found?
Any industry where loud noise is a regular part of the work environment can cause industrial deafness. This includes all construction jobs, any factory positions where loud equipment is running during production, musical fields such as orchestras or recording studios, airlines and runways, several military positions, or any job where loud tools may be employed.
For example, a construction job alone might not reach unsafe levels all the time, such as when building a house. However, construction done on a road can frequently cause loud noises, such as using jackhammers meant to break through concrete.
Make sure you check with your employer about the dB level maximum it is expected to reach, and plan accordingly.
What Problems Can Industrial Deafness Create For You?
In spite of the name giving the impression, complete deafness is not always the final result of this condition. Though total loss of hearing in one or both ears is possible, people may also experience a ringing sound, a buzzing, hearing that goes in and out, or difficulty picking up sounds correctly due to background noise.
These symptoms can cause many problems in your every day life. For more severe cases, it could lead to having to leave the workforce and apply for disability. Others may lose certain abilities, such as driving. For many people, this condition is treatable. But it is a problem that may not be reversible.
How To Protect Against Industrial Deafness?
As mentioned before, wearing proper protection is always the best way to prevent this condition from ever occurring. If you are going to go somewhere particularly loud, such as a concert, make sure you bring earplugs to muffle the noise. This will actually help you in work situations, as well, as it won’t risk causing damage that can be exacerbated and worsened when you get on a job site.
Industrial deafness is a serious condition, and a common injury found on the job. Make sure you are properly protecting yourself, so you don’t lose your hearing.