With over 28 Million Americans having some sort of hearing loss there is a very high chance that every worker will have some degree of impact from hearing loss in the Workplace.
Hearing Loss is considered to be the fastest growing disability not only in North America but in the world! In North America approximately 1 in 10 people have some degree of hearing loss and the older we get the higher that statistic becomes, rising to 50% in people 65 and over. Let’s examine the top 10 hearing related things that you should be aware of in the Workplace.
1. Fire or other emergency warnings.
As most business or job sites rely on audible warning signs for emergency situations such as Fire warnings any worker that has hearing impairment could be at risk of not hearing emergency warning signals. Not only could this affect the hearing impaired worker but also anyone who now needs to take on that role of making sure all workers have been alerted. Understanding the high percentage of hearing impaired workers or even workers wearing hearing protection devices that impair their hearing while at work should prompt Business Owners and Employers to also have sight warning signals such as red flashing lights situated in areas and ways that workers can see them while on the job
2. Communication and understanding instructions given.
For safety again and also being able to complete the job correctly being able to communicate effectively is of highest importance. Many hearing impaired workers or those wearing hearing protection devices will not be able to hear certain frequencies of sound. This may give the worker the illusion that he has heard what has been communicated but if they have missed out on certain frequencies such as high pitched or soft sounds they may also miss out on some crucial words or conversations and therefore not fully understand or misunderstand instructions or communication with co-workers or supervisors. Learn more about superior hearing protection while enabling workers to communicate clearly with each other.
3. Increased stress levels with increased sound.
For many workers high frequencies of sound or even bombardment of many types of soundscan dramatically increase their stress levels. Employers should be aware of the impact sound can have on certain employees and offer some sound reducing or sound barrier settings to enable workers to work in a less stressful environment where they can better concentrate and be more productive. Workers under increased stress have higher sick time, are often less productive and have higher risk of accidents or work related injuries.
4. Loss of qualified workers.
With the increase in hearing loss as people age the workplace may be affected by workers either retiring early due to hearing loss or employers may be demoting or not realizing their employees true potential as poorer communication and lack of understanding due to hearing impairment affect their employees work negatively.
5. Increased Workers Compensation or Insurance Claims.
With hearing loss increasing along with the age of workers, the chance of Workers
Compensation Claims or Insurance Claims also increases as hearing loss may well be due to concerns in the workplace. Learn more about Cost & Compliance.
6. Increased work related accidents.
The incidence of work related accidents may rise with increased stress amongst workers or increased hearing impairment that can be a contributing factor to workplace injuries.
7. Decreased workplace effectiveness.
10. Promoting awareness of hearing loss concerns.
The more awareness of hearing loss that is promoted within the workplace will also spill out into the community so that people can take action to protect their hearing and prevent hearing loss or further hearing loss. If our workplaces can bring awareness into the lives of millions of people this could be a tremendous turning point to lessen the statistics of increasing hearing loss as we age. The impact globally can be exciting! Learn more about Hearing Conservation.
Let’s all work together to impact the workplaces of the world!