According to the OSHA, hearing loss is a significant problem that leads to other conditions such as heart disease. There is no denying the fact that hearing loss is a problem in the construction world, but it does not get the same attention as other construction injuries. While the world debates the significance of concussions in sports, hearing loss remains one of the more significant construction accidents that continues to be ignored.
Hearing Loss Statistics To Consider
The Occupational Health and Safety website gives some statistics on hearing loss that are sobering for anyone in the construction industry. Loud equipment such as jackhammers and drills can cause as much hearing loss as a loud rock concert. The difference is that this rock concert goes on five days a week, and eight hours a day. Young construction workers who do not use hearing protection will end up paying the price as they get older.
Approximately 22 million American workers are said to be exposed to loud noises throughout the work day, and nearly 25 percent of those workers develop serious hearing problems later in life. One of the more sobering statistics is that older construction workers who have hearing issues will watch their income drop by approximately $30,000 per year if they are not wearing hearing aids. Since equipment such as hearing aids are often not allowed on construction sites, the fact that losing one’s hearing can cut their income by almost $30,000 per year is staggering.
Options After Hearing Loss Has Occurred
Once you have lost your hearing, it is difficult to get it back. There are many doctors throughout the country who can help restore some level of hearing and limit the side-effects of bad hearing (such as persistent tinnitus), but there is very little that can be done to restore your hearing to its normal levels.
Much of your hearing revolves around taking care of the nerves involved with hearing. Once a nerve has been damaged, it is very difficult to repair it.
How To Tell If You Are Losing Your Hearing
Some people get confused and mistake tinnitus as proof that they can still hear. If you have a loud ringing in your ears that will not go away, then you could be losing your hearing. It is important to note that tinnitus can also be caused by high blood pressure or certain medications. If the ringing in your ears is due to high blood pressure or medication, then it can usually be eliminated by reducing your blood pressure and changing your medications. But if the tinnitus will not go away, then your hearing could be damaged.
If you cannot clearly make out voices in an open room or hear very well when you are talking on the phone, then those can be signs of hearing loss. Many people with hearing problems cannot make out the words others are saying, even if those people are standing right in front of them. People with hearing loss also tend to turn up televisions and radios to volume levels that are too much for other people to handle.
Why Is Hearing Loss Significant In Construction?
Aside from the obvious issues that involve hearing loss, there are added issues for people who lose their hearing and work in construction. Hearing loss means that you can no longer hear someone giving you instructions in work areas, and you cannot hear people talking to you from a long distance.
Furthermore, you also cannot hear alarms, nor can you hear someone shouting in the event of an emergency. No matter how hard you may try, hearing loss can be devastating if you work in construction.
What Can Be Done?
Every construction worker who works in loud conditions should wear hearing protection all of the time. Some construction workers wear ear buds and listen to music while they work, but that could make the situation worse. It is said that you need to limit your music listening through ear buds to 60 minutes at a time and no more than 60 percent of the volume. Listening to music while working in a busy construction area has the potential to make your hearing worse. The best approach is to wear protection until your workday is done.
Every construction worker should also get their hearing checked at least once a year. If hearing loss is caught early enough, then there are ways to help the problem and give you a second chance at sustaining your hearing. But if you choose to not wear hearing protection at a noisy job site, then you are putting your health and your future at risk.