Construction jobs are not only dangerous, but noisy as well. It is estimated that 95 percent of construction workers must deal with loud noises on a daily basis. Hearing loss is often overlooked, but it is a serious and common condition. It is the most common work-related illness in the United States. It is more prevalent than cancer and diabetes.
Hearing loss can happen as a result of a one-time event or it can happen gradually over many years. The permissible noise level at job sites, as recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is 90 decibels. However, most construction sites exceed that level for hours every day. For example, a belt sander is 90 decibels, while a forklift is 93 decibels. Common construction equipment such as bulldozers, jackhammers, scrapers, graders and chainsaws operate at levels exceeding 100 decibels.
Working in the construction industry does not mean that you are destined to a life of hearing problems. Read on to learn more about hearing loss and what you can do to protect your hearing so you can enjoy it for the rest of your life.
Signs of Hearing Loss
These signs indicate possible hearing impairment:
- You have difficulty hearing people when there is background noise.
- You have difficulty hearing on the telephone.
- You often ask people to repeat themselves.
- People sound like they are mumbling.
- You hear ringing in one or both ears.
Healthy years refers to the time spent healthy after retirement. Nearly 78 percent of healthy years lost were caused by some degree of hearing impairment. Even a mild hearing impairment can make you lose out on healthy years. Hearing loss can cause other conditions as well, such as an increase in listening fatigue, difficulties understanding speech, decline in communication, cognitive decline and even depression.
Preventing Hearing Loss
Even if you’ve been in the construction industry for many years, it’s never too late to protect your hearing. Prevention, early detection and intervention are the three key elements in avoiding deafness. By planning ahead, you can protect your hearing while on a construction site.
The use of hearing protection devices on construction sites is low. You can change this, though, by discussing it with your employer. Your employer is obligated to help you and other employees prevent hearing loss. This can be done through ear plugs and other protection, as well as sound barriers or quieter tools. Your employer can also reschedule loud activities so they occur when the fewest number of people are working.
Reach Out to Our Austin, Texas Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
If you are a construction worker who has suffered hearing loss, you may be able to file a claim against your employer for not providing you with appropriate safety equipment and for exposing you to dangerous work environments.
Hearing loss can impact a person’s life significantly. If you are a victim, seek legal help from the Austin personal injury attorneys at DC Law. We can assess your case and determine your rights to compensation. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today through our website or call us at (512) 220-1800.