More than 36 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss, according to the American Academy of Audiology. What may be surprising to people who think that hearing loss is a problem that comes with old age: more than 18 million are younger than age 65.
Many of those suffer hearing loss do so because of loud noises in their workplaces. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace is “100% preventable.” It’s also one of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S., which means that not enough is being done by employers to prevent it.
"If you have to raise your voice..."
NIOSH estimates that 22 million U.S. workers each year are exposed to noises that are over 85 decibels – noises that are loud enough to be potentially hazardous.
“If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone an arm's length away, the noise levels may be loud enough to damage your hearing,” says NIOSH.
The effects of hearing loss go beyond hearing.
“In addition to hearing loss and other hearing disorders, prolonged exposure to noise can increase cardiovascular health risks, affect workers' quality of life, and carry a high economic price to society,” according to NIOSH.”
To learn more about hearing safety in the workplace, visit NIOSH's website for noise and hearing loss prevention and read a feature article on hearing protection.
The American Academy of Audiologists has created educational activity worksheets for parents, teachers, and kids to use in support of National Protect Your Hearing Month. The Academy also urges people to get their hearing tested. Click here to "Find an Audiologist" in your area.
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