If you’ve been exposed to excessive or constant noise at work, you may be at risk of work related hearing loss. Also known as noise-induced hearing loss, around 10% of Australians who have adult-onset hearing loss, have had their hearing damaged in the workplace.
Noise-induced hearing doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process. The damage is done during the first 10 years of exposure.
And once your hearing is gone, there’s no getting it back. Well, not all of it anyway.
Who is at risk of noise-related hearing loss?
Certain types of workers are more likely to suffer with the problem. These include transport and construction workers and people in the Defence forces.
The sounds we hear are measured in decibels (dB). Normal speech occurs at around 60 dB. In contrast, a chain saw measures around 110dB, a front-end loader 85 dB and a noisy truck around 83 dB.
Your hearing is affected more over time. For example, a truck driver exposed to noise over an 8-hour shift, is at serious risk of hearing damage.
How loud is too loud?
If you’re standing within 1 metre of someone and have to raise your voice to be heard, your workplace is probably too noisy.
How do you know if you have work-related hearing loss?
As hearing loss occurs gradually, many people don’t notice it. They tend to adjust by asking people to repeat themselves or even lip-reading.
Other tell-tale signs of hearing loss are:
- Sounds are muffled or muted
- You miss certain parts of a conversation
- There’s a ringing or buzzing in your ear – this could be ‘tinnitus’
- It’s near impossible to hear conversations where there’s background noise
What should you do to prevent work-related hearing loss?
It’s always a good idea to take precautions to protect your hearing.
- We recommend wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – but make sure the device is in good working order. Your employer should provide the appropriate PPE.
- Wear hearing protection like ear plugs or ear muffs every day. Make sure they’re inserted properly.
What should you do if you suspect you have been affected?
- The first step is to have your hearing checked by a qualified hearing care provider. Work health and safety laws require your employer to help you arrange this type of test regularly.
- You could be entitled to compensation – including free and subsidised treatment and custom-fitted hearing aids if appropriate.
Get in touch to discuss your hearing and your entitlements
At My Hearing, we regularly test people for noise-induced hearing loss. We can advise and help you apply for appropriate compensation.
If necessary, we can also help you regain some of your hearing by recommending the latest hearing technology and treatment for your hearing loss.
If you have any questions, please give us a call on 1300 970 558 to make an appointment.
REF: Comcare website