Job-Related Hearing Loss

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Every year, millions of workers in this country are exposed to hazardous levels of noise. Fortunately, hearing loss can be reduced or eliminated. Dr. Edward Hill explains how in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable, but once acquired, damage is permanent and irreversible. Prevention measures must be taken on the job site by employers and workers to ensure the protection of workers hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases. It is the second most self-reported occupational illness or injury.

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.