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Are you at risk for occupational hearing loss?

Employees in New York may be exposing themselves to conditions that will eventually result in permanent hearing loss, and they may not even know it. Occupational hearing loss is a common workers' compensation claim, and it is important workers know the risk factors so they can protect themselves from further injury.

According to the CDC, current research is being conducted to determine how different factors influence the susceptibility of hearing loss. This goes beyond well-known risk factors such as long-term exposure to loud noises or vibrations. Other factors may include:

  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity/race
  • Age
  • Certain health issues 

While there are many unknowns, it is clear that working with certain chemicals and solvents increase the chances of hearing loss. Some of these chemicals are pesticides, heavy metals, organic solvents and asphyxiants.

The University of Florida Health outlines some of the occupations that pose the greatest risk of hearing loss. These include:

  • Construction - working with jackhammers, large trucks and other loud equipment
  • Farming - loud machinery and chemical use
  • Airline ground maintenance - jets produce high-decibel sounds
  • Military jobs - posts that deal with aircraft, combat and other loud noises

Working around any noise that produces a sound of 80 decibels or higher will lead to damage of the inner ear. If you are already experiencing signs of loss, it is important to get tested and take steps to protect you hearing moving forward.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hearing loss, and any treatment strategy is designed to prevent future loss and cope with the current situation. You may require a hearing aid, need to learn how to read lips or use another communication technique.

https://ufhealth.org/occupational-hearing-loss

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/default.html

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