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Hearing loss is a gradual process and each person’s hearing deteriorates to a certain extent. This process can be made faster due to different factors, involving health issues and lifestyle. One part of this lifestyle is also the type of work one does and the noise they are exposed to while doing it. Engineering is one of the top fields when considering noise exposure.
Similarly to other industries, which are at the top of the same list mentioned in the introduction, noise in engineering comes from heavy machinery, equipment, and metal-on-metal sound. Apart from the machines working on creating the final product, there is engine and product testing involved. That can be on its own very noisy. The work itself, combined with various working environments and other traders around, can add up to a substantial level of noise.
Any noise over 80 dB can damage hearing depending on the length of exposure. Different countries have different, but quite similar criteria. Noise exposure to a level of noise of 85 dB – 90 dB (the USA) during an 8-hour shift is considered to be substantial by law, and certain measures need to be implemented to reduce the level of noise. With every additional 5dB, the exposure time is half of what it used to be. If you notice that your ears are ringing once you leave work, or you must raise your voice in order to talk to other people while you are at work, that is a good indication that the noise level is too high and that something needs to be done about it.
A common thing among workers exposed to noise daily is that they fail to notice their loss. They tend to get used to the noise surrounding them. Also, as this type of hearting happens gradually, they find ways of coping with reduced levels of hearing, again successfully ignoring the issue. This is a serious mistake. Luckily, there are certain things that might irritate you and remind you of your loss. You will notice that a lot of people around you are not speaking clearly, and you have to ask them to repeat themselves. You will find conversations difficult to follow with a background noise. Phone conversations will also become difficult. Finally, you will start increasing volumes of your phone, TV, and radio.
If you willingly or subconsciously choose to ignore these issues, they will not, however, escape the notice of those around you. Your family will become annoyed by having to repeat every single thing they say. Also, they will start raising their voice to talk to you and each conversation will be a struggle. The volume of your TV will be yet another thing they will complain about. If you have your entire family seemingly against you, telling you that your hearing is bad and that you need to check it out, you should take their advice. They only want to make you well.
There are children out there who dream about being truck drivers wanting to be behind a wheel of a powerful machine. Even though truck drivers are free and drive across different parts of this plant, their reality is not as dreamy as it sounds. Truck driving certainly does take its toll.
Two major conditions and health risks truck drivers are prone to are sleep deprivation and obesity. Each one of them can be both a symptom or a cause of a more serious condition. Obesity, for example, often leads to heart conditions, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Each one of these conditions is also known to affect a patient’s hearing. When you combine this, with the noise involved in this job, you realize how much damage can this job cause to a person’s hearing.
Truck drivers are at risk of losing the hearing in their line of work, on several different levels. As mentioned above hearing loss can be a consequence of poor circulation or nerve damage caused by one of the above-stated conditions. Furthermore, the exposure to carbon monoxide does not help, as it is also known to cause hearing loss. Last, but certainly not the least, you could say quite the opposite, hearing loss can be caused by the noise every truck driver is exposed to.
Truck drivers can suffer from unilateral, as well as, binaural hearing loss. The loss can be similar in both ears, or it can be significantly worse in one than the other. The worse side is usually the one closer to a window. An open window creates friction of wind which can produce a loud sound, causing that one ear to be exposed to more noise. Also, the open window can expose the driver to the noise from traffic. Even though modern trucks are not as noisy as the older models, there is still a certain level of noise inside a cabin. Noise and vibrations made by engine, transmission, tires, breaks etc. can be transmitted via the structural elements of the truck. Also, heavy machinery such as cranes and forklifts, used at the stops for loading and unloading, are also noisy.
Usually, the newer the model, the less the noise there is to driver. Wearing hearing protection at this point is possible by balancing the visual signals perfectly, however, it is extremely difficult, particularly if you are not accustomed to it. There are companies which make earplugs specially designed for extreme purposes and drivers. You can look them up, but make sure you find the customer reviews and hear their experience. In the meantime, avoid turning the volume of your radio up to compete with the rest of the noise. Keep your windows up and stay away from carbon monoxide as much as you can.
Truck drivers can greatly benefit from having regular hearing tests done. By doing so, they can catch the condition at its early stages and work to stop its progression and repair the consequences as much as it is possible. This is important for both safety and future quality of life.
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries out there. It is the dominant one when it comes to the number of fatal injuries. In order to protect a construction site, there has to be a thorough checklist and strict regulations in place. Apart from the obvious and instantaneous injuries, there are those which happen over the years and include back and neck injuries, joint and muscle pain, hearing loss etc.
Anyone who has ever passed by a construction site can say that it is noisy. Even when everything else seems quiet, there is still at least a banging noise coming from it. Each of the traders within a construction site uses a set of electric tools which make harmful noise and vibrations. A presence of heavy machinery such as bulldozers, forklifts, and cranes, is also very common. Furthermore, the banging mentioned, metal on metal noise, can be loud enough even without the machinery and the electric equipment around.
The first instance of noise protection in a construction site is using protective gear such as earplugs and earmuffs. These can cancel some of the noise produced and are sufficient in most situations, provided that other measures are in place. As much as these sites are hard to control, there should be an organizational strategy to have, as few people as possible on the site when the loudest machines are used. Also, it would be beneficial to build sound barriers where possible. Engineers should work on updating the equipment used and finding modern, quieter alternatives.
Hearing protection is required by law, however, construction workers do not always wear it as they rely on their sense of hearing for other things. These may involve communication with other employees and staying alert in hazardous situations. Also, not all sites have an equal ability of testing noise levels of all equipment used. This makes it hard to comply with the law and stay below 85 dB-90 dB. With a lot of contracted workforce, at different times, there is usually no proper training available with respect to the hearing health.
The noise at your work affects you if you have to yell to be heard. You can safely say that, if this is the case, you are exposed to noise. Also, you will find yourself often asking people to repeat themselves and start setting the volume up on your TV and radio. You will have trouble keeping track of conversations in crowded places and you will end up lipreading. Your family will often tell you to keep your voice and your TV down, while you will find them annoying for not speaking clearly.
The greatest problem for construction workers is the fact that they move around a lot. Due to this, finding the right specialists and treatments, as well as keeping up with appointments is extremely difficult. Be warned of the damage noise can make, check your hearing regularly, particularly if you have started noticing signs of the loss. Once damaged, your hearing cannot be repaired, but the process can be stopped, and you can find ways of improving your condition.
Occupational hearing loss is a work-related injury caused by occupational hazards. It can be caused by noise or ototoxic chemicals present in a workplace. Manufacturing seems to be one of the top five leading industries when it comes to noise-induced hearing loss according to the USA surveys.
As an occupational hazard, noise-induced hearing loss is caused by the equipment and machinery used in a workplace. Any sound over 80 dB has a potential of damaging one’s hearing. The legal permits of exposure vary from country to country and they are usually set to either 85 dB or 90 dB (e.g. the USA) on average, over a span of 8 working hours. With each increase of 5dB, the allowed period of exposure is reduced by 50%.
Notorious for its noise, manufacturing falls into a category of the loudest industries. This is not only a myth, but an actual fact with consequences most people are not aware of. The noise can be made anywhere on the production line, with the variety of machinery, presses, compressed air, metal-on-metal noise etc. The noise is usually magnified by the echoing walls of hangars these production lines are often placed within.
Looking at the USA only, the numbers show that 8 out of 10 people employed in the manufacturing industry have the noise-induced loss. It is the most commonly-recorded occupational illness in manufacturing and it accounts for more than 72%. However, this is not a definite number, the percentage is even greater than that, seeing that the term occupational illness means that the workers have enough hearing loss to officially be hearing impaired. Many others seem to be on the same road, with hearing loss below the impairment threshold.
One advantage the manufacturing industry has over other industries is that its noise could be effectively controlled with the right engineering solutions in place. Each of the machines as well as, workers has their steady position and thus sound barriers can be made to stop, absorb and prevent sound from spreading throughout the entire area. This can provide those who are not using a certain machine from being affected by it. Also, effective and consistent hearing protection, in the form of earplugs or muffs, sometimes both when needed, is highly recommended to all the workers for their own safety.
The two most common indicators of noise exposure in a workplace is a need to raise voice while communicating with coworkers, as well as a ringing sound in the ears during the hours following your work. Pay attention to the claims of those around you. If they complain that your hearing is no longer up-to-scratch, it is probably true. Also, you will be under an impression that people are mumbling, and you will have trouble participating in conversations in restaurants and clubs, with a lot of background noise.
When you know that you are at risk of losing your hearing, try to prevent it. Pay attention to any signs of the hearing loss and attend hearing tests regularly. Certain employers schedule annual check-ups for their employees, but even when this is not the case, you should make the initiative and schedule one yourself.