22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, according to statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hearing loss has become one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States.

Noise-induced hearing loss can occur from exposure to extremely loud impact sounds or from prolonged exposure to moderate noise levels.

This is an all too common condition for construction workers who began their careers a generation or more ago, before modern regulations required ear protection on the job. However, it could easily still be the fate of anyone who chooses to ignore or disregard current regulations.

The bottom line is exposure to high levels of noise can and will cause (likely permanent) hearing loss over time.  Construction sites are bursting with such high levels of sound—from earth moves, to jackhammers, to large trucks. There are potentially harmful levels of sound occurring constantly. Not utilizing protection against these sounds can cause damaging and lasting effects.

The damage years of sound can have on unprotected ears cannot be helped with modern forms of surgery or medications. For many, even hearing aids won’t alleviate symptoms.

For these reasons, this is a serious matter everyone in the industry should take into account. These are life-long consequences.

Once the damage is done, it is done. Permanent hearing loss and cannot be reversed. It is also imperative to realize this can be a gradual process.  As such, you may not be able to tell from day-to-day anything is changing or being negatively affected until it is too late. The only course of action here is prevention.

These gradual but permanent effects can be caused from noise perhaps much quieter than one might initially think. In fact, damage can come from noise levels equal to a running lawn mower for eight hours.