A large percentage of workers across multiple sectors lose a portion of their hearing due to work related health and safety hazards. In this post, we will take a close look first at why ear damage is both so common and easily ignored by the sufferers. Additionally, some of the most common hazardous workplaces will also be identified to allow both employers and employees to take adequate actions for minimising the chances of hearing loss.
In Which Fields of Work is Hearing Loss Common?
Hearing loss is a common occurrence in multiple fields of work, even to this day. While there are other jobs that also expose workers to ear damage and hearing loss, those who work in the following fields are at exceptionally high risk of partially or completely losing their ability to hear at some point.
- Factories, manufacturing plants, packing & loading areas
- Construction and renovation sites
- Airports, aeroplanes, helipads, rocket stations
- Loud musical and sports event venues
- Call centres
- Large farms
- Dentistry clinics
- Motorcycle courier/delivery service
Why is Hearing Loss Often Ignored?
Work related hearing loss is often ignored because of three primary reasons. These can be summarised as follows:
- Lack of options (supposed and real)
- Gradual decline
Next, we will explore the two main reasons to better understand them. Understanding them is a key factor for anyone who wishes to prevent and minimise work related hearing loss.
Supposed and Real Lack of Options
Workers in their respective fields will often be in situations where:
- They are not provided access to EN352-compliant protective equipment for reliable ear-protection by the employers.
- They are not aware that effective noise isolating PPE exists for the kind of work that they do.
- They refuse to accept noise isolating PPE as an effective option for preventing work-related hearing loss.
In this day and age, most, if not all at-risk workers should have at least a basic understanding of work-related hearing loss. Unfortunately, several workers are found every year to not use the sound isolating ear protection provided to them. Such behaviour stems from wilful ignorance and one’s inability to ascertain the health risks to which they are exposing themselves.
The problem with work related hearing loss is that the effects do not manifest immediately or acutely in most cases. As a result, people do not always realise that they are losing their ability to hear while working. They continue to damage their ears indefinitely, only making things even worse for themselves in the future. People who work in at-risk fields are exposed to loud, damaging noise for many years or even decades before they first acknowledge their hearing loss.
When we lose our hearing at a gradual, slow pace, it becomes difficult to tell the difference before it’s already too late. That is also why some don’t tend to take the claims of work-related hearing loss as seriously as they should—at least not initially. Therefore, it is a legal requirement for employers to provide their employees with the appropriate noise isolating equipment that meets all specified standards of protection against sonic damage.