Background sound is a constant in our busy lives. Normally, background noises are at safe levels that won’t impact our hearing, but repeated exposure to loud noises can cause hearing loss.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common form of hearing loss (ranking behind presbycusis, hearing loss related to normal aging), and is also the most preventable type.
Sound is measured in decibels; anything measuring over 85 dB can cause hearing loss. To put this into perspective:
- 20 decibels – ticking of a watch
- 60 decibels – normal conversation
- 85 decibels – heavy Houston traffic
- 95 decibels – motorcycle
- 120 decibels – police car siren
- 150 decibels – jet engine taking off
Noise in the Workplace
One of the most common places where people are exposed to unsafe sound levels is at work.
In fact, about 22 million U.S. workers each year are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. Over 30 million workers in Houston and throughout the country are exposed to chemicals, some of which are harmful to the ear (ototoxic) and hazardous to hearing.
Common jobs that can cause hearing loss are construction worker, ambulance driver, air traffic controller and garbage collector.
Per OSHA, if you are working in one of these environments, your employer is required to supply hearing protection. This can include headphones and/or earplugs. If you are not provided with these, you should immediately talk with your HR representative or direct supervisor.
For more information about how to protect your hearing, contact your Houston audiologist today.