Professions That Increase the Risk of Hearing Loss
A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 52 million people in the United States work in vocational settings that can result in hearing loss. Since hearing loss is irreversible, it is important to become aware of these professions and take necessary measures to protect your hearing in case you work in any of these work environments.
Everyone loves a well-manicured lawn. The problem with this is that most of the maintenance equipments to keep these lawns beautiful (such as lawn mowers or leaf blowers) are extremely loud and dangerous to your hearing. Often times, these equipments reach sound levels above 105 dB, which is well above the safe sound limit of 85dB. This puts workers that work in the maintenance of lawns at risk of getting hearing loss.
When it comes to household professions, carpenters are next on the list of people at risk for getting hearing loss. They use power tools that can reach levels above 115dB, which is extremely dangerous for their ears. Saws and hammers used by carpenters are often loud enough to cause noise-induced hearing loss.
Another unusual profession that may not come to mind immediately is professional drivers that drive race cars. Even pit crew members have a high chance of sustaining hearing damage. The mighty roar of race car engines can reach a whopping 135dB and even a single exposure to such loud levels of sound can be damaging for the ears.
Where would we be if it weren’t for our trusty farmers who bring us our fresh produce that liven up our dinner table? The sad reality is that even though our farmers bring us our daily bread, so to speak, they may be taking home hearing loss with them when they go home from work! Vehicles like tractors and trucks and large scale machinery like grain dryers tend to emit dangerous levels of noise. Over time, exposure to these consistently loud levels of noise can damage hearing.
People who work in factories also experience hearing problems due to constant exposure to loud machinery each day. Over time, this exposure can lead to loss of hearing, even though factory workers are often provided with protective gear to protect their hearing.
You may not realize it, but another unusual profession that is at a risk of getting hearing loss are musicians, especially those that perform at live concerts and stage shows. Sound amplifiers and speakers tend to produce sound levels above 110dB, which can be detrimental to the hearing of not only musicians, but even members of the audience. Similar professions that have direct or indirect contact with loud music are also at equal risk, such as disc jockeys, bartenders, and even sound technicians, bouncers and managers.
Those helpful neighborhood police officers put their lives at risk to save ours. Unfortunately, their lives are not the only thing at risk; their hearing is also at risk. The loud sirens and discharging weapons can exceed safe sound levels and result in hearing loss.
Our soldiers are also at risk for hearing loss for similar reasons. They face even louder threats to hearing since they are exposed to several hefty weapon discharge, bomb explosions, sonic booms, tanks, and other loud engines. All these sounds combined produce noise levels that reach well above 175dB, which can cause instant hearing loss. The worst part is that since soldiers need to be alert at all times, they are often unable to wear hearing protective gear to protect their ears.
Now that you are aware of the professions that are at high risk of hearing damage, how can you avoid this problem? Most of the industries that are well-aware of their risk of causing hearing loss already provide workers with adequate hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs. Make sure you consistently wear these protective gears to protect your hearing at all times while at work.
Even when you are at home, keep in mind that any sound level that is above 85dB is unsafe. This means that even simple tasks like listening to music at a loud volume, turning on the blender, or using the vacuum cleaner, are all potential threats to hearing. Make sure you do not expose yourself to unnecessary levels of loud noise whenever you can help it. Hearing loss is irreversible, so protect your hearing before it is too late.