The jobs most likely to lead to hearing loss

Introduction

Hearing loss is one of the most common health problems in the industrialized world and is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the more serious health problems society faces. In fact, they estimate that hearing loss poses an annual global cost of around US$750 billion.

Hearing loss has many causes. It can be inherited or developed following exposure to a wide variety of risk factors. One of the major risk factors, particularly in the industrialized world, is the overexposure to excessive noise.

Your occupation can increase your risk of overexposure to excessive noise. Other occupational risk factors for hearing loss include whole body vibration, exposure to toxins and work-related diseases. Occupational hearing loss accounts for 16% of disabling hearing loss worldwide.

So, for those who are at greater risk of hearing loss, choosing a career that poses less risk to your hearing or being aware of the risks your given sector poses to your hearing health are important factors to consider.

Jobs most likely to lead to hearing loss

Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Sounds at or below 70dB, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dB can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for noise-induced hearing loss to occur. There are certain occupations which increase your risk of exposure to the sound levels that can cause this, too.Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Sounds at or

Emergency services

Ambulance workers, firefighters and members of the police force who are on patrol will be exposed to sirens, possibly multiple times a day. These sirens can reach between 110dB-129dB and often will last for extended periods of time (up to and beyond 10 minutes) as they travel to their destination.

Aircraft and airport staff

Ground staff responsible for loading and unloading aircraft as well as directing it are at serious risk of excessive noise exposure. Whilst they’re provided with the globally recognized orange earmuffs, even these can’t protect them fully from the forceful 140dB noise that aircraft jets can produce.

On-board crew members are also exposed to these noises at times and should take care to ensure they’re well protected, minimizing exposure when they can.

Agriculture

Interaction with large, noisy pieces of machinery as well as loud animals can leave farmers (and other staff who work in agriculture) at greater risk of developing hearing loss.

Manufacturing and industry

Similarly to agriculture, exposure to loud pieces of machinery for an extend period of time leave many in the manufacturing sector at risk of developing some kind of hearing loss related issue during their career. Protective ear wear should be provided but the level of exposure over the course of an entire career will take its toll.

More niche careers that can increase the risk of NIHL include:

  • Musicians, conductors, music teachers and band leaders
  • Motorsport (drivers and crew members)
  • Security staff (particularly at nightclubs and concerts)
  • Teachers (exposure to groups of noisy children/teenagers, bells ringing)

Military

While those in the armed services are provided with hearing protection, the unpredictability of their role, immediate risks, exposure to noise and the duration of said noise can make it difficult for individuals to prioritize or even prepare themselves to protect their hearing health.

Hearing loss symptoms

Preventing hearing loss should be a priority if you work in one of these industries. The conscious effort to reduce your exposure to the sounds which can cause NIHL as well as wearing adequate hearing protection are the two main ways in which you can protect yourself from hearing loss.

If you are concerned that you are experiencing hearing loss, there are some typical hearing loss symptoms to look out for. If you feel that you may be suffering with some degree of hearing loss, we recommended that you seek professional help from a licensed hearing loss professional who can help you achieve your optimal state of hearing.

With you on your journey to better hearing.

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