According to NIOSH (National Institute of Safety and Health) estimates that there are between 5 and 30 million workers in the U.S. who are exposed to noise levels at work that put them at risk of hearing loss. This risk can be significantly reduced by learning what factors contribute to hearing loss and what methods can be used to control workers’ exposure. The causes of hearing loss include age, exposure to loud noise over time and exposure to very loud noise for short periods of time.
How noise damages our hearing:
The inner ear has nerve cells that can die due to acute or chronic exposure to loud noise. These cells will NOT regrow once they are gone.
Hearing loss affects our livelihood:
• It can be difficult to hold conversations, including on the telephone
• Individuals can become less confident in social and work situations
• Individuals can lose enjoyment in listening to the TV, music and other forms of entertainment
• Hearing impairment is a safety hazard when driving if warning signals like car horns, or traffic noise cannot be heard
Some signs that noise levels may be more than the standard are:
• If you have to raise your voice excessively to communicate
• If you have a temporary reduction of hearing or ringing in the ears
• If others comment on the noise