Tips to Avoid Tinnitus in Noisy Work Environments
Industries that expose workers to loud noise must take the necessary steps to protect the health of their hearing. Issues such as tinnitus are common in these environments and have led to many compensation claims as a result.
Companies and employees can take measures to reduce the incidence of hearing problems in work environments. In doing so, they’ll be protecting the livelihood of employees while ensuring a safe work environment.
The Problem of Noise
In many cases, employees who have suffered some hearing loss have been compensated for damages. Industries such as metal manufacturing have high rates of hearing issues among employees.
Tinnitus is a common hearing complaint resulting from excessive noise exposure. It results in the hearing of sound within the ear when no sound actually exists. Although many associate a ringing sound with tinnitus, there are a variety of sounds one can hear.
Between 2004 and 2010, the rate of hearing loss among metal workers remained at approximately 30-40 cases per 10,000 employees.
Recently, the average rate of hearing loss among employees of private-sector companies has begun to drop. Protective measures such as a reduction to high levels of noise and hearing protection aids has contributed to this decline.
The best way to decrease the risk of tinnitus resulting from noisy work environments is to reduce or eliminate the exposure to noise. This can often be accomplished by changing the process of the work itself or eliminating use of noisy machinery.
This might not be practical in many work environments. Therefore, in most cases it will be more effective to establish and work according to standards of noise exposure.
This can be done by isolating the source of noise from workers with surfaces to absorb sound, or barriers to provide protection. Relocating machinery to create greater distances between employees and the source of noise can also be very effective in preventing tinnitus.
Protective equipment should be maximized for the protection of employees in the workplace.
It’s important that the equipment be appropriate to the noise exposure in a particular environment to minimize the risks involved. It should be appropriately sized and for long-term use and comfort.
Over time, this protective equipment should be maintained to maximize protection and performance, and worn at all times by employees according to the instructions provided.
Tinnitus and other hearing issues are common results of noisy work environments. Although the rate of hearing loss has shown to be decreasing in a number of industries, workers and their employers should stay conscious of the ways to increase protection against hearing damage. This will reduce hearing damage among employees and eliminate costly claims.