Like many in Illinois, you likely spent most of your life waking up to the sound of an alarm clock. Lately, you may have programmed a louder sound into the alarm on your mobile device, or maybe you are one of those people for whom the birds outside your window are your call to greet the day.
Throughout the day, the many sounds you hear and take for granted include the sound of your spouse welcoming you home from work, the voices of your grandchildren asking you to play and the familiar notes of a favorite song on the radio as you drive to your job. Lately, however, those sounds are fading away, and your job may be to blame.
Who is at risk?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that hearing loss due to noise is the most common medical condition in the workplace. You are one of about 22 million employees whose jobs place them at risk of the pain and isolation that often accompanies noise-induced hearing problems. The industries where workers are most susceptible to hearing injuries include the following:
If you work in any of these industries or others where decibels reach dangerous levels, you may have personal protective equipment for your ears. However, some critics urge federal workplace safety authorities to raise the noise limit for requiring such protection because the standards are too low and outdated.
Additionally, you may be surprised to learn that the industries that expose workers to the highest levels of noise do not always have the highest level of hearing loss. This is because those employees know the risk of working without protection for their hearing. If your job exposes you to noise that is moderate and consistent, you may be less faithful about keeping in your earplugs. As a result, you may be suffering from hearing loss.
Hearing loss is not just in your ears
Hearing loss due to noise exposure can have devastating effects on your life. The hearing loss cannot be reversed, so the first consequence is often the emotional upheaval of having to learn new ways to communicate with loved ones. Some other ways in which hearing damage may affect you include:
- Constant pressure in your ears
- Sensitivity to noises
- Pain in your ears and head from normal sounds
- Constant ringing in the ears
- Inability to continue working
Many who experience these symptoms seek relief through therapy, auditory treatments, prescription medication and other avenues. They also struggle to obtain the financial assistance they need through workers’ compensation. If you are among those seeking relief after suffering on-the-job hearing loss, the help of an attorney may be your best resource.