The most common causes of hearing loss include aging and exposure to loud noises. Many have connected working in loud environments with an increased risk of developing hearing loss. A new study examined the prevalence of hearing loss among workers in the Services sector.
What Is Occupational Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss caused by exposure to hazardous noises or chemicals while at work is known as occupational hearing loss. The highest percentage of workers who experience this cause of hearing loss are found in the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors.
Hearing loss caused by hazardous noise exposure is linked with high blood pressure and cholesterol. Your risk of developing depression, cognitive decline and tinnitus also increases.
Who Are Service Workers?
There is a wide variety of jobs included in the Service sector. Service workers fall into the following sub-sectors:
- Music and software publishing
- Renting and leasing
- Financial transactions
- Legal advice and representation
- Overseeing and managing government programs
- Security and surveillance
- Educational training
- Entertainment and recreation
- Accommodations and food service
- Machinery repairing
- Dry cleaning and laundry
Noise Exposure Study
Nimarpreet Sekhon, Elizabeth Masterson and Christa Themann examined data from 2006-2015 to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss among workers in the Services sector. Their results were published this past July in the International Journal of Audiology.
The researchers examined audiograms from 1.9 million noise-exposed workers across all industries. This included 158,436 Services workers.
They found that the prevalence of hearing loss across all industries was 16 percent, while the prevalence within Services was 17. However, many of the sub-sectors were 10-33 percent higher.
- Administration of Urban Planning and Community and Rural Development saw the highest prevalence at 50 percent
- Solid Waste Combustors and Incinerators saw double the risk of developing hearing loss
In addition, sub-sectors typically viewed as low-risk for hearing loss had higher than expected prevalence and risks. These professions included Custom Computer Programming Services and Elementary and Secondary Schools.
How to Prevent Occupational Hearing Loss
Unlike aging, exposure to loud noises at work is preventable. This can be done by removing or reducing the sources of noise, and if that is not possible, wearing hearing protection.
Identifying at-risk workers is helpful, as early intervention yields the best outcomes. To learn more about protecting your hearing or to schedule an appointment with an expert, contact Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.