September 15, 2014
In in conclusion to our blog series Workplace Noise Exposure & Hearing Protection for Workers, below, we will wrap up our discussion regarding the impacts of regular workplace noise exposure and how workers can protect themselves.
While the first two parts of this blog series focused on highlighting the incidence and dangers of workplace noise exposure, as well as what employers and employees can do at work to reduce their risk of hearing loss, here, we will point out some more general tips for hearing protection that workers can follow in their general lives (i.e., when they are not at work).
Hearing Protection for Workers: Tips for Protecting Hearing Outside of Work
Simply wearing protective gear like earplugs at work may not be enough to protect people from irreversible hearing damage if or when people may be face regular, excessive workplace noise. To supplement these efforts, people are advised (by OSHA, as well as health care professionals) to also:
- Regularly get their hearing checked – It’s recommended that people who are regularly exposed to a significant amount of workplace noise undergo hearing tests every 3 months – or, at the very least, one to two times a year. Such ongoing monitoring of a person’s hearing will be critical to identifying the warning signs of potential hearing loss or other damage as soon as possible and, ideally, taking action early on so that such damage does not end up becoming permanent.
- Live healthfully – More specifically, this involves not engaging in activities that could put your health at risk, such as smoking cigarettes, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and/or using illicit drugs. Any of these activities can compound any seedlings of damage that have started to impact people’s inner ears (where hearing damage typically takes place).
- Limit noise exposure when not working – While people may have little ability to control their workplace noise exposure, they do have more control over the volume and amount of noise they are exposed to when they are not working, and they should do their best to minimize exposure to loud noises during these times. Taking care to not expose oneself to excessive noise outside of work can give a person’s ears critical rest, rather than compounding their stress and making workplace hearing damage snowball into permanent hearing loss.
- Get their ears cleaned professionally, rather than using foreign objects to clean them – Although it can be tempting to stick objects into your ears when they feel like they are clogged with wax, you should resist doing this, as it could end up damaging your eardrum and, in turn, your hearing. Instead, see a doctor and get your ears flushed out by a professional.
As Cara James, the executive director of the American Tinnitus Association, has so astutely explained:
Workplace noise exposure is a growing national health issue that seriously jeopardizes the long-term well-being of workers and the overall productivity of businesses … Fortunately, this is a crisis that can be averted through simple preventive measures. ATA encourages both employers and employees to take active steps to protect their hearing and minimize the long-term risks of noise exposure.
Denver Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at the Bisset Law Firm
Have you suffered work-related hearing damage or any other workplace injury? If so, Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jennifer Bisset wants you to know that she is here to aggressively advocate your rights and help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve.
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