Hearing Loss in the Workplace

by Tod Dennis


Noise-related hearing loss is a major occupational health concern. Thousands of workers, annually, suffer from hearing loss because of workplace noise. Even when it is short-term, noise can cause a temporary change in hearing.

Noise is measured in decibels (dBA). A small increase in decibels results in a huge change in the noise and the potential damage to a person’s hearing.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) sets legal limits of 90 dBAs on workplace noise exposure. These limits are based on a worker’s time-weighted average during an eight-hour day.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that Contact U.S. workers’ exposures to be controlled below 85 dBAs for eight hours to minimize occupational noise-induced hearing loss, which limits a person’s ability to hear high-frequency sounds and understand speech, and seriously impairs a person’s ability to communicate.

A place of business may have a noise problem if:

  • Employees hear ringing or humming in their ears when they leave work.
  • Individuals have to shout to be heard by a co-worker an arm’s length away.
  • Employees experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.

To learn some ways to reduce noise hazards, go to our website, and order “Hearing Safety” (LC-1016).

Tod Dennis works at CopperPoint Insurance Companies

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