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Could your job be putting your hearing at risk?

"by " Albert Stein

If you think about the risks you could face in the workplace, many people may identify things like trip hazards, or perhaps the dangers of working with heavy machinery, such as on a construction site. 

However, one of the most prevalent risks across a wide range of industries is actually one that you can't see at all. Noise-induced hearing loss is a serious concern that affects many Australians – over a third of all cases of hearing loss are due to over exposure to loud noise*.
Here we're taking a look at some of the noisiest occupations. 

  • Construction workers

  • Manufacturing workers

  • Armed forces 

  • Airport staff 

  • Miners

  • Firefighters 

  • Paramedics

  • Musicians

  • Nightclub staff and DJs

According to Safe Work Australia, over the course of five years there were over 16,000 compensation claims made for hearing loss due to noise exposure*. The majority of the claims (65 per cent), came from the construction, manufacturing and transport and storage sectors. 

An estimated 28-32 per cent of Australian workers are likely to work in a noisy environment*. 

The safe noise level, according to Safe Work Australia, is an average of 85 decibels over an 8 hour period, with a peak level of 140 decibels*. Any exposure to noise above the 140 decibel threshold can cause damage to our hearing almost instantly*. 

Despite these guidelines being in place, according to the Australian Acoustical Society, about one fifth of the workforce regularly work in noise levels above the exposure standard (average of 85 decibels over 8-hour period)*. If you find you need to raise your voice to speak to someone about 1 metre away, it's usually a sign that the ambient noise levels could be dangerous to your hearing*. 

Left unaddressed, hearing loss can worsen with time, and could lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), social isolation, depression and other effects on our mental health. 

If you believe your hearing, or that of a loved one has been affected by working in a noisy environment, it's important to get your hearing tested as early at possible. You can book your hearing check with your local Audika clinic by clicking here, or by giving our team a call on 1800 340 631.

*Queensland Government, Noise induced hearing loss. Accessed July, 2017. 
*Safe Work Australia, Occupational noise-induced hearing loss in Australia. Accessed July, 2017.
*Safe Work Australia, Noise. Accessed July, 2017. 
*Australian Acoustical Society, Noise Exposure in the Australian Workforce. Accessed July, 2017.