Did you know that your job could be the cause of hearing loss? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 22 million workers in the USA are exposed to harmful occupational noise. A significant number of these workers eventually suffer hearing impairments- the most prevalent work-related illness in the country.
In a recently released study, CDC researchers demonstrated the prevalence of hearing loss among workers drawn across nine noisy industries. After sampling 1,413,789 audiograms for employees working for 25,908 U.S. companies in the period 2003-2012, the researchers ranked the noisy workplaces as follows:
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
1. Mining industry: the mining sector had the highest incidence of hearing impairment with a prevalence of 17% (one in six workers had a mild to complete hearing loss).
2. Construction industry: the CDC study found that 16% (one in six workers) of construction workers had a hearing impairment.
3. Manufacturing sector: 14% incidence (one in seven workers).
4. Wholesale and retail trade: 13% prevalence (about one in eight workers).
5. Services: 13% (one in eight workers).
6. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: 11% prevalence (one in nine workers).
7. Healthcare and social assistance: 11% incidence (one in nine workers).
8. Transportation, warehousing and utilities: 8% (About 1 in 13 workers).
9. Public safety sector (police protection, fire protection, corrections, ambulance services, etc.): 7% (1 in 14 workers).
Protecting Yourself Against Noise-induced Hearing Loss
While you may not change your job, you can mitigate against the danger of a noisy job. Here is how you can protect yourself:
• Wear protection devices- you should wear earplugs or earmuffs every time you are engaged in noisy activities.
• Hearing loss tests- if your workplace is noisy, you should go for a hearing test every year. The tests help to identify changes early and avert further hearing impairments.
In the U.S., hearing loss is more common than diabetes or cancer. Hazardous occupation noise contributes significantly to this health concern. If your job is noisy, take advantage of modern hearing impairment prevention strategies and technology to prevent hearing loss. If you have no hearing loss, wear protective devices and go for annual hearing loss tests. If you have lost some hearing already, detection, intervention, and rehabilitation can improve your quality of life.
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