Workplaces come in all shapes, sizes and volume levels. While some may work in a quiet office, you work in a louder industrial setting.
Hearing loss can impact you for the rest of your life. Noisy processes or machinery can have a devastating effect on your hearing both now and into the future.
Here’s what you should know about the volume level in your workplace.
The dangers of a loud workplace
Damage to your ears can have long-term effects that impact more than your hearing. When you work in a noisy environment, you have other side-effects such as:
- Increased anxiety or stress
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Reduced productivity
- Increased risk of accidents
Working in a loud environment can impact your physical and psychological health at work, after work and long after you have changed jobs.
How loud is too loud?
Some levels are clearly too loud, but the levels where hearing loss occurs are lower than you might imagine. The CDC reports that if you have to raise your voice to talk to someone about an arm’s length away, the estimated noise level is about 85 decibels. At 85 decibels, you could start experiencing damage to your ears after repeated exposures of eight hours or more. Common devices in the 85-decibel range are things like lawnmowers and vacuums.
When you need to shout to talk to someone an arm’s length away, the estimated level is 95 decibels. If you are exposed to noise in the 95-decibel range, you could experience hearing loss in under an hour. Common devices in this range are chainsaws, ambulance sirens and bulldozers.
Hearing protection guidelines
New Jersey follows federal guidelines for hearing protections, meaning that there is limited guidance for employers. You should talk to your employer about the noise in your workplace and what safeguards they have in place.
You can also take steps to protect your hearing by wearing ear protection in noisy environments. If you experience hearing loss or another hearing-related injury in the workplace, it is essential to talk to an experienced professional about your situation.