At the Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez in California, we know how maddening it is when people mumble to the point that you cannot make out what they are saying. If you seem to experience this more and more, however, has it occurred to you to wonder if the problem might not be them, but you? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that hearing loss is the nation’s number one work-related injury, resulting in an annual outlay of $242 million in workers’ compensation.
Per the Department of Labor, approximately 22 million American workers experience hazardous workplace noise levels each year. Your risk of hearing loss is highest if you work in one of the following industries:
How noisy is too noisy?
Today’s OSHA standards set the maximum noise level to which an industrial worker can be exposed for eight hours each day at 85 decibels. If you are a construction worker, however, OSHA sets your maximum level at 90 dB. This is equivalent to a power mower, a motorcycle 25 feet away, or a jet plane one mile away. People speak at about 70 dB, rising to 88 dB when they shout.
Surprisingly enough, studies show that your risk of workplace hearing loss is greater if you work in a moderately noisy environment as opposed to a high-noise one. The reason is that workers can and do remove virtually all kinds of workplace hearing protection, most notably earplugs, when they feel they do not require the protection. Therefore, a word to the wise: Always wear your hearing protection devices while at work. The hearing you save may be your own.
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