Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States, affecting millions. Dr. Edward Hill discusses hearing loss in the workplace in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Every year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise. Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns for more than 25 years.

It is 100 percent preventable, but once acquired, damage is permanent and irreversible. Prevention measures must be taken by employers and workers to ensure the protection of workers hearing.

Any worker can be at risk for noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace. Workers in certain industries have higher exposures to dangerous levels of noise. These include agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, utilities, transportation and military.

There is no national surveillance or injury reporting system for hearing loss. It is estimated that occupational hearing loss costs hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Removing hazardous noise from the workplace through engineering controls is the most effective way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing protectors such as earplugs and earmuffs should be used when it is not feasible to reduce noise to a safe level.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.