Some people are born with amazing talents like those children with a stupendous singing voice. Some develop a new skill as they get older like learning how to dance. Some train in order to improve on a skillset that they possess just like the athletes that compete in the Olympics. These goes the same for hearing loss. Some have inborn deafness. Some just develop it over time. Some have it mild, but as they get exposed to the environment and other factors, it becomes severe.
One of the factors that contribute to the gradual deterioration of hearing is the continuous or intermittent exposure to noise when at work. This results to a condition that we call Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. The alarming fact is that despite statistics showing a considerably large amount of employees who are exposed to dangerous levels of noise at work, there is still little to no awareness about this topic.
Here’s a fact, about one out of six youths in Singapore are prone to noise-induced hearing loss. They are not even exposed to loud machinery and noises yet, but rather just portable music players. Now, imagine the situations of adults who are surrounded by these noises on a daily basis. Although actions such as provision of proper noise protection gears have been taken to lessen the severity of it, it is still not treated with utmost importance, especially by employees themselves..
Who are most prone to ONIHL?
- Manufacturing workers — Loud machines, compressed air, and resonance of loud sounds is the recipe for occupational noise-induced hearing loss. One may be able to put up with these noises now, but in the long run, excessive exposure will take a toll on his or her hearing.
- Construction workers — Have you ever experienced staying near a construction site? You have a hard time concentrating and getting some work finished. In worse cases, construction is done at night which makes it difficult for you to sleep. Imagine having to work in the site itself. Construction machineries produce very loud sounds that exceed the recommended limit of decibels which is 85dB. They can even reach up to 115dB sometimes.
- Flight crews — Have you ever ridden an airplane and as the plane descends to the ground, your ears pop? Or hear the loud engines of the plane? Imagine working in that kind of set-up for most of your time. Takeoff usually reaches up to 130 decibels and it doesn’t happen in seconds. It usually takes a few minutes and this prolonged exposure to it can cause hearing loss over time.
- Ambulance drivers — Name one thing you would make way for while you’re driving on the road. You would probably say an ambulance because of the loud siren you can hear from miles away. Ambulance drivers are rushing to save lives while putting their hearing health at risk. Sirens can reach up to 120dB.
- Agriculturists — Farms may seem very peaceful in photos but it can become very noisy with all the livestock, chainsaws, equipment and vehicles used to maintain the entire farm. Adopting equipment that create lesser noise would be very costly, which is why most agriculturists choose not to do so.
- Waiters, Bartenders and DJs — It’s true that clubs are very loud that you often have to shout to the person next to you just to say something. So whether you’re a bouncer, a bartender, a waiter, or the DJ, you are at risk of developing occupational noise-induced hearing loss. With the thumping music night after night, don’t be surprised if you experience complications with your hearing.
So what can you do to help prevent or reduce the risk of ONIHL in your workplace? Here are some quick things you can do:
- Substitute the noise source with a more quiet equipment.
- Isolate noise from workers.
- Impose proper use of ear protection.
To properly know how far in you are with damaged hearing, we suggest paying a visit to your trusted hearing care as soon as possible. With early detection, you can do early solutions. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Have your hearing evaluated. Visit Listening Lab for an ear check-up. Contact us at +65 6817 5100 for more details.