Many industries commonly contribute to hearing loss among countless Americans, but it is important to note that it is not required to work in a hazardous industry to put one’s hearing at risk. Hearing loss, including job-related hearing damage, is a prevalent risk affecting people in South Carolina and elsewhere.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has designated October as National Protect Your Hearing Month, according to the National Safety Council. People can benefit from this important awareness program by learning about their risks and how to take measures to protect their hearing. While anyone can – and should – take part in this effort, it can be especially beneficial to those who work in environments that can cause auditory damage.
The risk of hearing loss can be particularly high for those working in construction, mines, factories and music. Military personnel, firefighters and first responders can also be subject to sudden bursts of noise or prolonged sound that cause either immediate or gradual hearing loss over time. However, these are by far not the only industries associated with a risk of hearing damage. With studies showing up to 24% of adults over the age of 70 suffering noise-related hearing loss, it is easy to see how common the issue is. In fact, people can start sustaining permanent hearing damage as early as their teens, states the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
How can workers protect their hearing? They may start by asking their employers to provide education on protecting their ears on the job, as well as following safety protocols and using the proper equipment. It can also help to understand that workers’ compensation benefits may apply to those suffering from job-related hearing loss.