Long before the industrial revolution, we humans were only exposed to loud noise with the occasional storm or large gathering. But today, it’s a very different picture. Lots of us only need to head off to work to experience loud noises that are strong enough to cause actual damage to our hearing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that noises need to be extremely loud.
We measure sound in decibels (dB) which is a measure of intensity and just 80-85 decibels are enough to cause hearing damage within eight hours. That’s roughly the equivalent of the sound of busy traffic.
You can then imagine that over the course of a career, such continued noise exposure can add up to work-related hearing loss, directly related to the conditions of work. Below we consider some of the different careers that lead to the risk of hearing loss.
Those who operate as ground support staff, especially those who are constantly moving baggage and vehicles on the tarmac, are consistently exposed to loud engines of the aircraft as well as having to strain to communicate across the noise. The level at which hearing loss begins to occur is 85 dB or higher and the jet engines of airplanes emit sound up to 140 dB. This shows the pressure your ears are exposed too. It’s not just sound that can deteriorate hearing over time, the pressure of the engines with the force they emit can also contribute.
Entertainment Venue and Tour Managers
Besides the loud crowds and music that catapult sound levels to over 110 dB, event and entertainment managers who work at lounges and clubs, as well as security staff that work at concerts, are usually at risk of hearing loss due to their close proximity to loudspeakers. Nightclub and concert venues tend to place loudspeakers all around the room and by the stage. Those playing on stage will also increase the sound levels when using amps. Combine this with screaming fans and rising sound levels and you can see how long-term exposure can lead to hearing loss.
Construction and land development
Dangerous sounds are all around at construction sites. Many people in that profession suffer from hearing loss after long-term work at a construction site. Take for example the fact that jackhammers and chainsaws rise to 110 dB and sandblasting can reach 125 dB. Even the use of ear muffs and other aids to help block out noise can only lessen the impact.
These are just some of the various jobs that carry a high risk of hearing loss. Others include motor racing support staff, military employees, musicians, agriculture and more.
How to protect yourself against noise-induced hearing loss
If you find yourself in a profession that can increase your risk of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus, then here are some precautions you can take.
– Wear gear that is protection for your ears (even for short periods of exposure)
– Remove yourself from the source of loud noise if you don’t need to be around it
– Never drown out loud noise with other noises. This will only add to the noise pollution
– Have regular hearing tests to monitor your hearing. This will allow you to take more necessary precautions if your hearing is worsening.
If you’re worried about your risk of hearing loss, then take the Signia online test to see if you might have hearing loss. It important that this is confirmed by a hearing care professional to ensure the right treatment. Our online test is easy and simple. It can help give you peace of mind, or help you take the next step in treatment.