There are a lot of common working environments that force workers to put their hearing at risk. Building sites, factories, and warehouses are all great examples of this that are also very common, with those who work in places like this often having to struggle when it comes to dealing with their noise protection. This article is going to be exploring some of the best ways to protect yourself from loud noise in environments like this, along with giving you an audiologist’s take on this sort of issue.
1. Wear ear protection
Ear protection has long been one of the best ways to keep yourself safe from hearing loss at work. Earplugs can be good for this, though some people find them irritating to wear and they have the potential to damage your ears if they are used incorrectly. Over-ear muffs can be much better for this, making it easier for other team members to tell when you can hear them, while also providing far more comfort than those that go inside your ears. This is something that your employee should provide you with.
2. Limit exposure
Sensorineural hearing loss is one of the most common examples of this sort of condition. This type of hearing loss can occur when the fine hairs inside your ear (cilia) are pushed down by exposure to loud noises. While this isn’t an instant process, it can have a dramatic impact on your hearing as the months go by, making it well worth working to limit the amount of time that you spend being exposed to loud sounds. Sound meters can be an excellent tool when you’re trying to figure out whether or not your work area is safe to spend extended times in.
3. Avoid inner ear irritation
Your inner ears are one of the most sensitive parts of your body, and this means that you have to be careful to avoid causing damage with irritation. For example, a lot of people use q-tips to clean their ears when they get too waxy, but it can be all too easy to push too far with something like this and hurt yourself. Talking to your audiologist is one of the best ways to overcome this sort of issue, as they will be able to help you to find and use the right tools for this sort of job. Of course, you also have to avoid inner ear irritation in your day-to-day life.
4. Use sound-canceling headphones
It’s common to find employees using devices like headphones when they are at work, though this can be tricky when you are somewhere very loud. Even the snuggest of regular headphones or earbuds will let external sound in. Headphones with ANC (active noise-cancellation) can overcome this issue entirely, providing your ears with protection from external sound, while also enabling you to listen to the music and podcasts you love no matter how loud your environment is.
5. Wear appropriate workplace protection
Wearing ear protection is an excellent way to ensure that your ears aren’t damaged by sound, though there are plenty of other types of problems that can lead to hearing loss. Head injuries can break the small bones inside your ears, causing hearing loss and a host of other issues that can leave your hearing permanently altered. Hardhats, harnesses, and the other safety tools that come with your job should always be taken seriously, and this isn’t just to protect your hearing.
6. Talk to your boss
Finally, as the last tip to consider, it’s time to think about the work your boss has to put into this. Hearing loss is taken very seriously by most governments, and your employer will almost certainly be responsible for making sure that team members don’t have to risk their hearing. If you feel that you aren’t being given the right equipment, need to have the chance to escape the noise more, or have any other complaints about your hearing at work, this is something you should talk to your boss about.
Here at Valley Hearing Center, we have a wealth of experience working with hearing loss. Many of our patients have had their hearing damaged at work, but it would have only taken a couple of small steps to protect them. If you’re unsure about your hearing at work or want to learn more about hearing health, we encourage you to get in touch with our professional audiologists by calling at 831-240-4162.