We often think of hearing loss as a condition which effects older adults, still you may be surprised when hearing loss sneaks up on you. In truth hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age, class, or demographic. Often caused by certain medications, impact to the head, environmental pollution, or infection, it’s becoming increasing common. However, by far, one of the most devastating causes of hearing loss in the United States is exposure to noise at work and during recreational activities. While we can monitor our hearing during our hobbies, we may not fell that we have that same choice in our place of work.
It’s estimated that around 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. While the most common professions include law enforcement, night life entertainment, agriculture, manufacturing and construction, some professions which cause hearing damage may surprise you. For instance, a crowded office setting full of multiple conversations can reach cacophonous levels throughout a shifts which averages eight hours or more. Perhaps most alarming is the understanding that hearing loss is not only permanent, but it can all too quickly affect your performance and success in the workplace.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Noise induce hearing loss occurs when sounds surpass a safe listening threshold which is not only calculated by level of sound but length of exposure. The loudness of sound is measured in decibels and any exposure of 85 dBA for 8 hours or more can damage your hearing. This creates the perfect storm for an eight-hour standard work shift in the US. However, as the decibels rise, the time it takes for hearing to be damaged decreases quickly. For every three increases of decibels past 85 dBA, cuts the exposure time in half. At 88 dBA it only takes 4 hours and at 901 dBA it takes 2. By the time sounds reach 100 dBA in more it can take minuets to cause life lone hearing loss!
Hearing Loss and Job Performance
There are protections and regulations in place in most working environments which require employers to monitor sound levels and provide ear protection to reduce the risk. However, it is up to you to make sure that you make sure that safety precautions are up to date and that you are wearing hearing protection appropriately and effectively. We only have our hearing once, and any damage we sustain is a lifelong journey.
When we suffer hearing loss at work it not only effects our ability to connect to loved ones in our personal life. It often effects our ability to fully succeed to our highest potential at work.
You may have hearing loss and not even know it, as it often develops slowly over years. Many are not aware it’s an issue until you struggle to hear even in the most ideal of listening situations. Still, your co-workers and employers may notice your issues with hearing. You are more likely to miss instructions, make mistakes or display reduced reaction times in emergencies, increasing the risk of injury to yourself or others. This has been shown to impact a person’s earnings at work as well as chances to move up and forward through promotions and raises.
Hearing Loss and Unemployment
Just as alarming, unaddressed hearing loss can affect your chances of keeping a job or finding employment. Research shows that those with hearing loss have a much harder time finding employment, as rates of unemployment are much higher among those with hearing loss than those without hearing loss. In fact, according to the Hearing Health Foundation, those with severe hearing loss have an unemployment rate (15.6%) twice that of the average hearing population (7.8%) and almost double that of their peers (8.3%) who use hearing aids.
Treating Hearing Loss
This leads us to a very essential point. If you are living with unaddressed heairng loss, it’s important to treat your hearing loss immediately. Not only do hearing aids help you to hear the people and world around you but they level the playing field, helping you to function at work, hearing your co-workers and staying alert. If you suspect you are struggling with hearing loss, it’s important to contact us today to discover just what hearing aids can do for you to help you reach your highest potential at work and in life. Contact us today to set up your next hearing exam!