Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss, and each year approximately 30 million people in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise in the workplace.
Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns for more than 25 years. Thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. In 2009 alone, BLS reported more than 21,000 hearing loss cases. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss. Learn more about Occupational Noise Exposure.
Short term exposure to loud noise can also cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noisy area. However, exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/ or hearing loss. The effects of hearing loss can be profound. Noise Induced hearing loss limits your ability to hear high frequency sounds, understand speech, and seriously impairs your ability to communicate. Learn more about the symptoms of Noise Induce Hearing Loss (NIHL)
What are the warning signs that your workplace may be too noisy? Noise may be a problem in your workplace if:
- You hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work
- You have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm’s length away
- You experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.