When you chose your dream career to pursue in college, did you ever stop to consider the hazards that could come with it? If you’re like most people, probably not. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that there are many occupations that cause hearing loss or could result in other health problems. On the positive side, knowledge is power. If you’re aware of the occupational hazards you face, you’re in a better position to do something about them.
Noise-induced hearing loss on the job
Recently, audiologist Sharon Sandridge, PhD, shared some of the most common occupations that cause hearing loss. While some of them might seem obvious, others could take you by surprise. Take a look at this list and see for yourself:
- Factory laborer – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long been an advocate for employee safety. Even with these efforts, however, manufacturing jobs continue to be at the top of the list for work-related noise exposure.
- Entertainment venue workers – If you’ve ever attended a live sporting event, this one should be no surprise. With some events boasting sound levels that rival that of a chainsaw, it’s no wonder that regular employees of the venue are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss.
- Musicians – Whether done as a hobby or for a career, being a musician comes with hearing risks. Just think about the hours of practice required to put on a great concert. Then, add that to the performance itself and you have prolonged exposure to sound that’s well above a safe hearing level.
- Farmers – No, it’s not the animals crying for food that causes hearing loss in this population. Rather, it’s prolonged exposure to noisy equipment without using adequate hearing protection. We’ve all seen farmers spending hours on a tractor combing the fields. While the fresh air and sunshine could be healthy, continued exposure to excess noise is not.
- Dentists – This one might be surprising, but it makes sense if you think about it. The drills and other equipment used daily by dentists can lead to high frequency hearing loss. The proximity of the drill to their ears, combined with daily use, make this an occupational hazard they probably didn’t think about in college.
- Construction workers – A construction site is full of noisy machines – saws, loaders, grinders, jackhammers, and more. Some sounds are loud enough to cause immediate hearing damage, while others cause hearing loss with prolonged exposure over time.
- Sports coaches and officials – These employees get hit with a double whammy. Not only are they exposed to noisy crowds at live sporting events, but they’re also hit with the shrill sound of a whistle or starting gun.
- School employees – Whether it’s the cafeteria staff managing a loud group of students at lunch, or teachers corralling an excited group at recess, noise-induced hearing loss can be an unfortunate job hazard.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of occupations that cause hearing loss, it’s a good start. But, if you currently work in one of these jobs, or you know someone else who does, there is help available.
How to prevent occupational hearing loss
The best hearing loss prevention measure is to limit loud noise exposure. If that’s not always possible, wearing appropriate hearing protection can go a long way toward saving your hearing. If you notice hearing changes or need help determining the best hearing protection for you, schedule an appointment with one of our friendly audiologists. We’re happy to help you hear well and live well!
Read the full story here.