Construction workers are around loud noises that can damage their hearing for at least eight hours a day. Permanent hearing loss is something that cannot be fixed, so it’s important to take note of ways your hearing can be damaged, and ways to minimize the loss. You might be aware that you’re immersed in a loud worksite, but unaware of the signs that you’re already experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus.
More than half of the construction workers in America have been exposed to noise-induced hearing loss, and about the same amount of workers are not wearing hearing protection. The average construction site has a decibel level of 80-90, and damage to the ears begins at 80 decibels. Below are ways your hearing can be damaged, and tips on how to prevent hearing loss while working.
Signs of early hearing loss in construction workers
Using loud tools and being around prolonged damaging decibel levels for extended periods of time is a huge cause of hearing loss. Common construction tools that cause noise-induced hearing loss are jackhammers (100 dB), saws (105-110 dB), drills (115 dB), dumptrucks, and bulldozers. You might not experience signs right away, as hearing loss is typically gradual. You may begin to experience symptoms in one or both of your ears.
Common signs you’re experiencing hearing loss include ringing in your ears, difficulty hearing others talk in person and on the phone, or that you can hear but cannot understand. It’s not possible to turn down the sound of construction sites, but it is possible to wear protective gear and take breaks to minimize exposure to these loud sounds causing noise-induced hearing loss.
Tips for protection at construction sites
Protective equipment such as industrial-grade earplugs or earmuffs that cover the entire ear can help protect your hearing while on the job. OSHA requires employers to provide personal protective equipment. This includes gloves, helmets, protective clothing, and industrial grade earplugs. We know wearing gloves protects our hands and so we wear gloves, but we also know wearing earplugs protects our ears and we don’t wear earplugs. Why do we hesitate when it comes to the importance of our hearing?
Educating employees on hearing loss is the first step. Once your ears are damaged from the irreversible effects of hearing loss, there is no going back. Taking breaks from the noise, staying a safe distance from loud tools and machinery, and wearing proper hearing protection will keep your ears out of harm's way. An ear hearing specialist can let you know if you’re experiencing hearing loss and to what extent.
When to see an ear hearing specialist
Seeking professional help from an ear hearing specialist for your hearing is nothing to be ashamed of. You shouldn’t fear that working in construction has to come to an end for you to keep hearing well, but rather realize how your hearing is being affected and take precautions while working.
At Active Hearing Health we know the importance of getting your hearing tested early to prevent more damage down the road. We provide hearing tests so you can know what state your hearing is currently in. Schedule a consultation with us today if you think you’re experiencing noise-induced hearing loss.