Conditions

8 Jobs That Cause Hearing Loss, And How To Protect Yourself Before Damage Starts

Hearing Loss Can Be Life Changing; Protect Yourself At Work
Protecting your hearing at work can be the difference between hearing aids later in life. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Hearing loss can cause isolation and depression, and certain jobs can put your ears in harm's way more than others. You should protect your ears on at-risk work sites because once hearing is damaged, it often cannot be restored.

“One exposure to a single sound could permanently damage hearing,” Dr. Stefanie Wolf, a clinical audiologist at Audiology of Nassau County, told Medical Daily. “People who use drills should definitely be protected and tested by their employer or a contracted company. They should supply them with proper protective gear that can safely and perfectly seal in the acoustics while allowing them to still hear commands.”

Wolf, who grew up with her mother working as a clinical audiologist, has seen decades of progression in technology and reports she’s happy to see where it’s moving. However, she said it’s a mistake to think hearing aids are an easy fix for hearing loss and should be treated as a process, not a product.

There are two different types of hearing loss: One is considered congenital when you are born with hearing loss due to a genetic or developmental problem during pregnancy. The second is gradual hearing loss, which occurs from short-term or prolonged damage, and is avoidable.

Approximately 48 percent of adults in the United States report experiencing some degree of hearing loss, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Noise is measured using decibels (Db) and can evaluate how loud, soft, or damaging something can be to your ears. A noise between 70 to 90 Db can cause slow but increased damage, or one single loud noise, such as a 150-Db gunshot, can cause permanent hearing damage.

“Look at singers. Beyonce, for example. She always has special ear protection on that blocks out the background noise,” Wolf said. “They’re expensive, but they’re worth it because they work.”

The following jobs cause damage that worsen over time and can send you complaining to your friends, family, and eventually your doctor until you’ve been properly fitted with a hearing aid. Manual labor jobs fare the worst, which should be another reason to make sure if you fall under any of these titles that you receive ear protection from your employer.

  1. Carpenter: Nail gun causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  2. Ambulance driver or EMT: Ambulance causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  3. Lumberman or logger: Chainsaw causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  4. Musician or rock star: Rock concert speaker causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  5. Air Traffic controler: Jet engine causes 110 to 140 Db of noise
  6. Garbage man: garbage truck causes 85 to 100 Db of noise
  7. Construction worker: Jackhammer causes 85 to 100 Db of noise
  8. Landscaper: Power mower causes 85 to 100 Db of noise
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