There are certain occupations in Michigan that pose higher risks to employees than other industries. These risks include a variety of injuries and illnesses that can lead to workers' compensation claims. Hearing loss is one condition that affects many workers, and the results are often permanent and life-changing, which is why prevention is important.
According to Medline Plus, job-related hearing loss is often due to vibrations and loud noises that damage the inner ear. While a single exposure to a high decibel sound may lead to hearing loss, it is more common when the person experiences loud sounds on a regular basis. High risk occupations include farming, construction, some military jobs, airline maintenance and those entailing machinery or loud music.
The CDC reports that along with noises, there are certain chemicals that can also cause hearing loss. Unfortunately, occupational hearing loss is permanent in the majority of cases, and this can lead to a number of negative consequences. These include:
- Sleep disruption and difficulty concentrating due to ringing in the ears
- Heart problems
- Social isolation
- Mental decline
- Safety concerns
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of daily activities
- Lower income
The best way to avoid these outcomes is to prevent the loss in the first place. Employees who work with toxic chemicals and solvents should:
- Wear proper protection such as eyewear, long-sleeve shirts and gloves
- Switch to a non-toxic chemical
- Wear a respirator
Workers can avoid noise-causing hearing loss by using quieter equipment, wearing proper hearing protection, decreasing time around the noise, moving further away from the noise source or placing a barrier in between the source and the worker.