Are you worried about hearing loss from noise levels on the job? Excessive noise levels are one of the most frequent reasons for hearing loss. For those who are employed in one of the subsequent high-noise professions, you have cause to worry about your hearing.Approximately 30 million employees risk dangerous noise exposure on the job according to the Centers for Disease Control.The most important thing that you can do is to keep yourself well-informed about the dangers and have a candid discussion with your employer.
What follows is a partial list of positions where hearing impairment is a significant concern.
- Miners – Reported by the CDC, 49 percent of male miners are expected to have a hearing impairment by age 50 – compared with 9 percent of the general public – soaring to 70% by 60 years of age.
- DJs and Nightclub Staff – Everyone that works at a night club – bartenders, security, wait staff – is at risk, not just the performers. In a controlled research study, sound levels of up to 108 decibels were recorded in popular nightclubs. The average sound level for a typical nightclub outing was 96 decibels which is above the sound level at which the provision of hearing protection is mandatory for employers in industry. The study concluded that DJs are at sizeable risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss and sound exposure in nightclubs regularly exceeds safe levels.
- Construction – The second highest number of permanent hearing loss disabilities suffered on the job is among construction workers. Equipment used in building construction regularly operates at 90 decibels or higher. A study of construction workers in WA State showed that workers were surrounded by noise measuring 85 decibels or higher in about 70% of their shifts, but wore their hearing protection less than 20% of the time.
- Band & Orchestra – Research on the noise exposures of classical musicians experienced across both rehearsals and performances found that the strings and percussion sections averaged 90 decibels while the brass section averaged 95 decibels. Top volumes were 130 decibels in the percussion and brass sections. Another Swedish study showed that 59 out of 139 orchestra musicians – 42 percent – had hearing losses greater than that normal for their ages.
- Airport Staff – The sound of an airplane engine is among the loudest occupational hazards, with sound levels at a stunning 140 dB.
- Paramedics and Firefighters – The many sirens squealing add up over time. Numerous studies have examined the prevalence of hearing disabilities in firefighters and emergency vehicle drivers with most concluding that firefighters suffer accelerated hearing loss relative to the general population of similar age.
- Armed Forces – The number 1 disability amongst US military personnel is noise-induced hearing loss. As stated by the Deafness Research Foundation, over 65 percent of combat troops returning from Afghanistan are afflicted by noise-induced hearing loss.
- Plumbers – The Center for Disease Control website states that 48% of plumbers noted that they had a perceived hearing loss.
- Carpenters – The CDC reports that 44% of carpenters reported that they had a perceived hearing loss.
- Manufacturing – Manufacturing workers constitute the greatest numbers of permanent hearing disabilities sustained on the job. Manufacturing positions repeatedly expose workers to machinery and equipment which generates upwards of 90 decibels of noise for extended period of time.
- Agriculture – Farmers are frequently exposed to excessive noise and the use of ear protection among farm and agricultural workers is not common. Research has shown that 25 percent of male farmers develop hearing impairments by the age of 30 and one-half by the age of 50.
- Motorcycle Courier – A study of motorcycle noise – with and without helmets – under various driving conditions at speeds ranging from 45 mph to 65 noted that the sound level measured varied from 70 to 128 decibels.
- Chemicals Industry – Contact with certain substances has been connected to accelerated hearing loss by itself. These specific chemicals now known to combine synergistically with noise to cause increased hearing loss.