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How Employees Can Protect Their Hearing at Work
Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable! Yet many people throughout the U.S. still experience issues with their hearing because of a noisy work environment. That is why it is so important to understand how you, as an employee, can protect your hearing in the workplace. Read on to find out more.
Wear Ear Protection at Work
There are specially designed types of ear protection available to you, in case you find yourself in a noisy work environment. These include inner ear protection like industrial earplugs and over the ear protection like high-quality earmuffs. Indeed, if you work in such environments as a factory, construction site or farm, your employer should provide ear protection for you as part of their health and safety plan.
Be sure to speak to your employer if you work in a loud environment and they are not offering the right ear protection. Also checking the quality of protection offered by the devices you have is a good idea, as those working in very noisy environments will need more powerful and higher-rated protection to properly look after their hearing health.
Minimize Exposure to Noise
Additionally, minimizing your exposure to loud noise is the best approach. However, it’s true that this will not always be possible, especially in a work environment, where there are specific tasks that will need to be performed. The good news is some strategies can be used to help in such situations.
For example, speaking to your employer about setting up a task Rota or carousel can help limit the time you are exposed to high levels of noise. Also, by taking regular breaks for loud tasks like operating a machine or pneumatic drilling you will give your ears a chance to recover.
Protect Your Ear Canal
Your ear canal is the opening that links the inner ear to the fleshy outer lobe part. To safeguard your hearing, you must protect this inner part, as well as the outer lobe. With that in mind, avoiding placing anything inside the canal is the best approach.
That means not using cotton buds to clean out earwax. Indeed, such tools offer two serious threats to the health of your ears. The first is that they tend to compact wax further down the canal towards the sensitive eardrum and inner ear, something that can impact hearing.
People have also been known to burst their eardrums by using cotton buds. Either by being too enthusiastic or by sleeping during use. Unfortunately, a burst eardrum is not only incredibly painful but can permanently damage hearing as well.
Lastly, if you do wear industrial earplugs be sure not to push them too far down into your ear canal as this could cause blockages and have a similar effect.
Be Mindful of What You Consume
A way that employees can protect their hearing at work that most people are unaware of is to be careful about what they consume. This is because two substances that many people consume regularly can harm hearing in the long term.
The first is smoking, as carbon monoxide and nicotine constrict blood vessels all over the body including the outer and inner ear, impacting hearing quality. While the second is some medications which have also been linked with hearing loss. To that end, if you work in a noisy atmosphere, quitting smoking and talking to a doctor about the pain medications you are taking is wise.
Address Any Stress
Stress in the workplace is another factor that can contribute to hearing problems, especially tinnitus. Tinnitus is when a person experiences ringing in the ears, even though there is no outward source for the sound.
Stress and tinnitus are linked because as the body goes into fight or flight mode additional pressure is placed on the nerves and blood flow. With that in mind, dealing with stress is vital if you want to maintain your hearing health.
Take Care of Your Ear Health
Last of all, to protect your hearing in the workplace it’s important to attend regular checkups. This is because your audiologist will be able to determine if there are any issues as soon as possible, something that can make it easier to take preventive action to make sure they don’t worsen.
Contact Arkansas Professional Hearing Care for more help
Worried about the effect of your work environment on your hearing? Contact Arkansas Professional Hearing Care at (501) 588-0177 and make an appointment to see one of our experienced and professional audiologists that can help you address your concerns.