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Hearing Loss as an Occupational Disease
Jun 22, 2021
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Did you know that one of the common occupational diseases in the workplace is loss of hearing?

It is reported in an online article that about 30 million workers are unprotected from hazardous work. Occupational diseases are health conditions that are caused by work settings or tasks related to one's work and loss of hearing is one of them.

Hearing loss is usually the problem in different work environments such as factories, farms, and construction sites, and others that could inflict damage to the ears. Other causes of hearing loss can be attributed to noises from explosives, firearms, jet engines that could possibly result in permanent hearing loss.

Even recreational noises could possibly cause loss of hearing. Recreational noises come from different activities we usually do as a form of recreation or leisure or simply hobbies. According to an online article on hearing loss, (Hearing Review. 2010;17(5):48-55). There are some activities that could cause hearing loss for workers and other individuals. In other words, hearing loss does not only occur in the workplace, but also in leisure activities that some people enjoy doing but with adverse effects on others.

From the online article, there are several leisure activities related to loss of hearing such as:

  • Shooting firearms - this is done usually during hunting and for an example for how hearing loss can possibly happen, the online article indicated an example of a study made with a particular group of respondents:

“A study was conducted to show hearing loss could happen among people who shoot firearms wherein 232 people were respondents of the study (187 males and 45 females). " The degree of hearing loss varied by age (the older the subject, the worse the hearing) and by gender (men had worse hearing than women), and in all, 177 of the 232 people had hearing loss. Half of the people had been taught to use hearing protection in their hunter safety course, and yet 76% of them had hearing loss." (retrieved from the same article).

  • Woodworking - the use of power tools could also cause hearing loss because woodworking tools produce high sound levels which poses risk depending on how long and how often the tool is used.

"On average, woodworking poses a greater threat to hearing than most other leisure time activities. A study was conducted on different activities such as playing a musical instrument, using noisy kitchen appliances, using a vacuum cleaner, and hairdryer. The frequency of using tools for these activities was also considered and it was "found that people who were into woodworking were 30% more likely to have hearing loss than others who did not."

  • Motor Sports and Sporting Events - Motorcycle and all-terrain (ATV)riding, or being with large engines could possibly cause hearing loss but also depending on how frequent the activity is. 
  • Noisy toys - for example, a toy fire truck with a sounding siren could also have some effects on hearing
  • Music - listening to music as a source of recreational noise exposure. Accessories such as headphones or earphones, AirPods are usually used to listen to music at different sound levels depending on the environment.

“The Fligor and Ives study further indicated that using sound-isolating earphones allows people to moderate the level of their headphones in a noisy environment, compared to their chosen listening levels using earbud and on-the-ear headphones that don’t block out background noise. Even in very noisy conditions, such as while flying on a commercial flight, the majority of people who turn their music up too loud using on-the-ear earphones set the music much lower using sound-isolating in-the-canal earphones."(Hearing Review. 2010;17(5):48-55). 

  • Music concerts and dance clubs - In this situation, it is indicated that professional musicians are exposed to the risk of hearing loss from their work as they are unprotected from high-level crowd noise and sound reinforcement on stage numerous times a week

On the brighter side of things, the noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be resolved by having a hearing check-up with an audiologist, the use of accessories for listening to music such as AirPods, earphones, headphones which could be used to concentrate on the audio and control the sound moderately to prevent NIHL. 

Some people say noise pollution is bombarding us in the city coming from the noises of motorists, music played inside commercial centers, people’s noises, and others aside from the fact that we are also suffering from air and water pollution. Noise pollution is not being taken seriously by most people like us, however, I think it is high time to think about it and start preventive measures to avoid hearing loss from our everyday lives including our life at work.

I suggest when we listen to music, podcasts, or other audio-related activities, we have to turn audio into moderate sound so that we can do away with hearing loss in the future.  

Another way is to devote more time to other leisure activities such as playing table games and card games with our friends and family members. This is not only having fun with them, it is also a way of having quality bonding time with family members, friends, or co-workers. We can not always turn to our devices for leisure, because we have to have interaction with other people.

We can choose a table FlexiSpot with a variety of home furniture products such as big tables and desks that are ergonomically designed and durable. One great product is the Standing Desk Pro Series-Extra large desktop which is packed with great features.

It is height adjustable, with a greater loading capacity of up to 275 lbs. It also has an advanced all-in-one keypad that is programmable for the sit/stand reminder system. You can change your positions easily and get friendly alerts when it is time to stand. So when playing, you and your family members can sit or stand as the alert goes.

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