From the moment our alarm clock goes off in the morning, individuals are exposed to a variety of noises throughout the day. Some noises are hardly recognizable; the clock ticking in the office, the constant clicking of keyboards, and the dull hum of the building’s HVAC. On the other hand, some noises are so prominent that each generates a reaction; the sound of a door slamming, an alarm sounding, or a machine operating might cause an individual to jump. With constant sounds surrounding employees every day, how much noise is too much?
The CDC estimates roughly 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year (85 decibels or higher). The damage can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense sound such as an explosion, backfire, or speaker squeal, or by sustained, moderately hazardous noise exposure over a long period.
Beginning signs of occupational hearing loss might not be very noticeable. In fact, many people do not know they are suffering from it until the loss becomes obvious. Possible indicators of the beginnings of hearing loss can be:
- Sounds that were once clear to hear becoming distorted or muffled
- Difficulty understanding what people are saying
- Feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears that go away minutes, hours, or days after high-noise exposure
Although the immediate ear discomfort might go away in a short amount of time, some cells in the inner ear might have been destroyed, resulting in lasting hearing loss.
If you, a fellow coworker, or employee is experiencing an increase in hearing difficulty or is consistently exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels, it’s time for a hearing test with an audiologist. This test will provide an adequate analysis of the individual’s hearing and offer equipment to project him or her from additional damage.
Contact Center for Industrial Audiometrics today to learn more about how we can help protect you and your employees against occupational hearing loss in congruence with OSHA Standards.
7200 Cameron Park Drive
Fort Smith, AR 72903