Is Your Hearing Health Good?

hearing-health1Did you know that your job could cause you hearing loss? A recent US government study found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, workers exposed to loud noises are at risk of losing their hearing. The agency defined moderate hearing loss as “difficulty hearing another person talking, even in a quiet place or on the phone.”

The research was led by Elizabeth Masterson of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Her team stressed that most workplace ear damage is unnecessary.

The study concluded that 2 percent of the more than 1.4 million workers tested across nine industry sectors between 2003 and 2012 had “moderate or worse” hearing loss, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Also, some other significant findings from the study include:man-with-jack-hammer

  • The mining sector had the highest rates of hearing impaired workers at 17%
  • followed by the construction sector at 16% loss
  • then manufacturing industries at 14% loss

Public employees… police, fire, and emergency services had the lowest prevalence of hearing loss and impairment among Americans working in noisy professions.

One expert wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer,” said Katrien Vermeire, director of hearing and speech at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. “Thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels.”

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“Occupational hearing loss is a permanent but entirely preventable condition with today’s hearing loss prevention strategies and technology,” the researchers wrote.

occupational-hearing-loss2Vermeire agreed. “Noise-induced hearing loss is almost entirely preventable,” she said. “Make sure to wear hearing protection devices — such as earplugs or earmuffs — when you are involved in loud activities, either at work or when involved in noisy recreational activities.”

Vermeire also stressed, “If you’re exposed to hazardous noise on the job, annual hearing tests are important to identify any change in hearing that might indicate under-protection from the noise.”

So, the conclusion is that if you are in a loud environment for any period of time then it is best to use earplugs.

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