When thinking about noisy work environments, it is common to automatically think of occupations like road work, construction sites, or factories. Although, in reality these noisy work environments can be anywhere. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in the matter of just one year, 22 million employees have been exposed to high and dangerous volumes of noise. After this statistic became clear, it was obvious something needed to be done about it. They have since been penalizing companies where hearing safety was not being considered and about $1.5 million in fines overall have been issued.
Signs That the Noise May be at Dangerous Levels
Warnings of high noise volumes may not be noticeable until after you exit the area and usually the signs of the area being too loud will show up later on in the day. Some signs may include ringing, humming, or pain in the ears which is one of the most common signs that you are in an area where ear protection is most definitely needed.
Sometimes even temporary hearing loss, where everything goes completely silent for a short amount of time can happen. Another sign could include having to speak at high volumes just so the person next to you can hear what is trying to be said, when they might only be a few feet away from you. If you have to speak loudly in order for someone to hear you when there is barely any distance in between, that is a clear sign that something is not right with the noise levels in the area.
Can this be Reversed After the Damage is Done?
NIHL, which stands for (noise induced hearing loss) can happen at any age from children to the elderly. The average spent on hearing loss disabilities yearly is estimated to be $242 million, which is an astronomical number when it could have been resolved with protection for the ears. Unfortunately, these signs can either take place immediately or in the future. Sometimes even surgery and/or hearing aids can’t fix or improve this type of hearing loss so it is extremely important to stay on top of the game and fix the issue before it’s too late.
Effects on a Person’s Mental and Physical Health
Can exposure to high level noise environments affect someone’s mental health? The answer to this is yes. Noise can cause numerous problems for your mental health. Some illnesses from high volumes of sound would include Hypersensitivity, insomnia, and even Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) which occurs in the major blood vessels of the heart and is not curable. A past study had actually shown that people who live or work in noisy environments are more likely to be admitted to a hospital for things like a stroke, cardiovascular disorders, and more because of the high noise volumes and the stress it causes on the body.
Husten, Larry. “People Who Live Near Airports at Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Disease.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Oct. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2013/10/08/people-who-live-near-airports-at-increased-risk-for-cardiovascular-disease/#46049bac4141.
Lisa, Packer. “Advocating for Hearing Health in a Noisy Work Environment.” Healthy Hearing, Advocating for Hearing Health in a Noisy Work Environment, 23 June 2016, www.healthyhearing.com/report/52661-Advocating-for-hearing-health-in-a-noisy-work-environment.
“UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/.