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Does your job put you at risk for hearing loss?

Does your job put you at risk?

One of the main causes of hearing loss is constantly being around excessively loud noise levels. Being that some professions are unquestionably louder than others, these employees are at a higher risk of hearing loss due to overexposure. In fact, 30 million people are surrounded by a dangerously loud noise at work, and occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Professions with dangerous levels of noise are not always obvious, but this list can help clarify if your profession could potentially be threatening to your hearing:

  • Miners – By the age of 50, 49% of male miners are predicted to have a hearing impairment, compared with 9% of the general public.
  • Construction Workers – Construction workers are second-highest for permanent hearing losses suffered in the workplace. These employees are routinely around machinery that produces around 90-110 decibels for roughly 70% of their working time.
  • Club/Bar Staff – Everyone that works at a nightclub or bar– security, wait staff, bartenders – is at risk, not just the DJs. Because these jobs are so high energy and constantly around noise with decibels from 96-108, there is a high chance of noise hearing loss.
  • Musicians – When it comes to classical music, the strings and percussion sections averaged 90 decibels and the brass section around 95 decibels. However, peak volumes for all of these instruments are 130. On the other hand, concerts emit sounds from 110-115 decibels, and for 3 hours or more. At this volume, it really only takes 15 minutes of exposure to acquiring permanent hearing damage.
  • Airport Staff – One of the loudest occupational hazards is the sound of an airplane engine, with sound levels at a shocking 140 decibels during takeoff. This level of noise is loud enough to rupture an eardrum by itself.
  • Firefighters and Paramedics – These occupations are surrounded by sirens for most of their day. These sirens at such a close range is about 120 dB, which is loud enough to feel ear pain instantly.
  • Plumbers and Carpenters – 48 percent of plumbers noted that they had a perceived hearing loss, while 44 percent of carpenters reported the same hearing loss.
  • Manufacturing – Manufacturing has the largest number of permanent hearing loss disabilities sustained in the workplace. These employees are regularly around equipment and machinery that generate over 90 decibels of noise, with the possibility of reaching 115 decibels.
  • Farmer – Between heavy machinery and environmental noise, farmers are frequently exposed to excessive noise. For example, a pig squeal is 130 decibels! For these reasons, farming ranks among the top three occupations for hearing loss.
  • Physical education teacher – PE teachers are constantly being exposed to noises up to 125 decibels. This noise comes from ringing bells, slamming lockers, loud announcements, and other random school noises, and is constant throughout the day.
  • Dentist: The high-speed turbine drill produces noise of about 115 decibels during their workday. This constant exposure can be a problem for dentists and dental cleaners hearing.

Taking steps to protect your hearing in any high-risk noise environment is critical for your hearing health. In order to be protected from possible hearing loss, employees must wear work-related hearing safety. If hearing loss is a gradual process, then you no longer have a reference point to understand what healthy hearing is. If you or a family member is working or has worked in a noisy environment, the first step is starting with a hearing test.

Have a question about testing for hearing loss and hearing aids?

Call the Shea Clinic today to set up an appointment with our experts. Call now locally at 901-761-9720 or toll-free at 800-477-SHEA.

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