April 24, 2017
Every year, about 22 million Americans are exposed to noise levels that could potentially cause hearing damage at work. In fact, hearing loss is one of the most common work-related health problems in the United States today. Below is a list of 10 jobs with some of the highest potential to cause occupational, noise-related hearing loss. Do you work at one of these hearing-hazardous jobs?
Members of flight crews – including flight attendants, pilots, and airport ground control staff – experience up to 140 dB (decibels) of noise during a single takeoff, which is loud enough to rupture an eardrum.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that people be exposed to no more than an average of 85 dB over the course of an 8 hour shift. Prolonged exposure to noise over 100 dB can cause permanent hearing damage.
Farmers are exposed to excessive noise so often that they are ranked among the top 3 worst industries for hearing. The heavy machinery and animal noises that farmers are around every day puts them at risk – for instance, a pig squeal is around 130 dB.
Manufacturer or factory worker
The noise from trucks and factory machines often reach up to 115 dB, and the noise is usually ongoing throughout the day. (Prolonged exposure to noise is worse for your ears than being around short noises, even ones that are very loud). In 2007, 82% of cases of occupational hearing loss were reported by manufacturing workers.
An ambulance siren up close is about 120 dB, which is enough to cause ear pain. Ambulance drivers and emergency personnel are often exposed to these ear-splitting noises for long hours.
Construction worker or builder
Construction workers and builders use power tools all day long. To take just one example, a jackhammer emits about 130 dB of noise.
Musician / DJ / nightclub staff (including bartenders and bouncers)
Concerts at nightclubs and other venues often emit a noise level of about 115 dB, and this noise level is often consistent for several hours at a time, making music industry-related work particularly hazardous for the ears.
Gardener / Landscaper
Gardening tools like weed whackers and electric lawn mowers can emit sounds of around 107 dB, meaning a busy yard worker is putting his or her hearing at risk.
Teachers, especially physical education teachers and nursery school teachers
Between ringing bells, announcements over the loudspeaker, slamming lockers, and noisy kids, teachers’ ears are at risk. Physical education teachers who use whistles that emit sounds at a level of 125 dB, and nursery school teachers exposed to screaming, crying small children, are particularly susceptible to noise-related damage.
The noise created by dentist drills can reach up to 115 dB. The fact that dentists see multiple patients over the course of a long day means their risk of long-term exposure to unacceptable levels of noise is high.
The noise from a hairdresser’s environment – blow dryers, chatty customers, etc. – often reach 85 dB. While this is on the low end of the scale of loud noises, long-term prolonged exposure at this level is still hazardous.
If you’ve worked in one of these jobs for a long time and think you may have developed occupational hearing loss, contact New Generation Hearing Centers for a professional hearing consultation. Dr. Joseph Duran and his team will help you find the hearing aid that fits your needs and lifestyle. New Generation Hearing Centers provides same-day service and outstanding service to all patients.