While reviewing the multiple considerations that go into your career choice, we bet that your continued hearing health is pretty low on the priority list—if it’s there at all. We get it.
And although we don’t think that your future ability to hear should dictate your career choice, we do think you should be aware of the risk—so that you can utilize appropriate hearing protection and stick to the best habits to maintain your hearing.
As reported by the CDC, occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Twenty-two million people are subjected to hazardous noise levels on the job, and a projected $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss.
So this isn’t a minor concern; the personal and social consequences are huge.
If you choose to pursue one of the following eight careers—or currently work in one—take extra safety measures to look after your hearing.
The following are 8 of the loudest industries.
1. Military – Virtually all firearms can create 140 decibels (dB) of noise. This is considerably above the safe threshold of 85 dB, and has the potential to generate instant and irreversible hearing damage. Explosions and other sounds of combat add to the danger. This is why hearing loss and other hearing complications represent the most prevalent injuries for veterans.
2. Music – Live shows can reach over 110 decibels, subjecting performers to hours of continually damaging noise. That explains why research has revealed that musicians are four times more likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss—and 57 percent more likely to suffer tinnitus—than other people.
3. Manufacturing – As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hearing loss is the most regularly reported work-related condition in manufacturing. Manufacturing machinery can reach decibel levels of well over 100.
4. Carpentry – As with manufacturing, carpenters use machinery that can reach dangerous decibel levels. A power saw alone can reach 110 dB.
5. Aviation – A jet take-off at 25 meters registers at approximately 140-150 decibels. The decibel level decreases as distance increases, but aircraft pilots and airport workers should protect against the noise.
6. Emergency Response – Ambulance and fire-engine sirens can generate decibel levels of over 130. In fact, a group of firefighters has recently taken legal action against a siren manufacturer after suffering from hearing loss on the job.
7. Farming – Some tractors and farming equipment can reach well over 100 decibels. Agricultural workers are encouraged to keep machinery running smoothly, to take periodic breaks from the noise, and to use hearing protection.
8. Racing – The sound of a single race car can reach over 120 decibels, and a race in full action can reach 140. Participants, fans, and workers at racing events are all at an increased risk for developing hearing loss.
Bear in mind, extended subjection to any noise above 85 decibels increases your risk for acquiring hearing loss. If you find yourself in a high-volume profession, take these three safety measures (if you can’t avoid the source of the noise):
- Increase your distance from the sound source when feasible
- Take periodic rest breaks from the sound to limit time of exposure
- Wear custom earplugs to limit volume
Taking these three easy steps (specifically # 3) will allow you to pursue the career of your choice without having to compromise your ability to hear later in life—because wearing earplugs now is better than wearing hearing aids later.