Are you worried about hearing loss from excessive noise levels on the job? Noise-induced hearing loss is the single most common reason for hearing damage. For those who work in one of the subsequent high-noise professions, you have reason to be concerned about your hearing.The CDC reports that 30 million workers are subjected to dangerous noise at work and an additional nine million are at risk for hearing loss from other agents such as metals and solvents.The best thing that you can do is to educate yourself about the dangers of noise and have an open discussion with your employer.
Risk of hearing loss should be mitigated as best as possible in any profession. This is a partial list of especially noisy positions.
Manufacturing – The largest number of permanent hearing losses sustained in the workplace come from manufacturing. Manufacturing industries repeatedly expose workers to machinery and equipment which generates over 90 decibels of noise.
Construction Workers – Construction workers rank second highest for permanent hearing losses suffered in the workplace. Equipment used in construction frequently generates noise levels of 90 decibels. A study of construction workers in Washington State revealed that workers were surrounded by noise measuring 85 decibels or greater in about 70% of their workshifts, yet wore their ear protectors less than 20% of the time.
Carpenters – The Center for Disease Control web page on Work-Related Hearing Loss states that 44 percent of carpenters reported that they had a perceived hearing loss.
Miners – According to the Center for Disease Control, 49 percent of male miners are predicted to have a hearing disability by age 50 (vs. 9percent of the general public) increasing to 70% by 60 years of age.
Motorcycle Courier – A study of motorcycle noise – with and without helmets – under a variety of driving conditions at speeds between 45 mph to 65 noted that the noise measured ranged from 70 decibels to 128 decibels.
DJs, Bartenders and Nightclub Staff – Absolutely everyone that works at a night club – bartenders, security, wait staff – is at risk, not just the DJs. In a controlled research study, noise levels of up to 108 decibels were recorded in the nightclubs. The average sound level for a typical session was 96 decibels which is above the level at which employers are required to furnish hearing protection. The study came to the conclusion that Disc Jockeys are at considerable risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss and noise exposure in nightclubs frequently exceeds safe levels.
Musicians – Across rehearsals, recordings and performances, musicians are continually engulfed in sound. The list of renowned musicians with permanent hearing loss or tinnitus keeps growing each and every year. Well known names on the current list include Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, will.i.am, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Beethoven.
Orchestra & Band – Research on the noise exposures of classical musicians experienced during both performances and rehearsals found that the brass section averaged 95 decibels while the strings and brass section averaged 90 decibels. Top volumes were 130 decibels in the percussion and brass sections of the orchestra. A different Swedish study demonstrated that 59 out of 139 orchestra musicians (42%) had hearing losses greater than that expected for their ages.
Airport Staff – The sound of an airplane engine is one of the loudest auditory occupational hazards, with noise levels at a stunning 140 decibels.
Firefighters / Ambulance Drivers – The many sirens whirring add up over time. Numerous studies have examined the prevalence of hearing impairments in firefighters and ambulance drivers with most finding that firefighters suffer accelerated hearing loss when compared with the general public of the same age.
Military – The number 1 disability among US military personnel is noise-induced hearing loss. As many as 65% of troops returning from combat in Afghanistan suffer from noise-induced hearing loss according to the Deafness Research Foundation.
Plumbers – The Center for Disease Control webpage for Work-Related Hearing Loss states that 48% of plumbers noted that they had a perceived hearing loss.
Agriculture – Farmers are routinely subjected to extreme noise and the utilization of hearing protection among agricultural and farm workers is uncommon. Studies of male farmers observed that by age 30, one-quarter already had a hearing impairment. By age 50, the rate of hearing impairment climbed to half.