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What is occupational noise-induced hearing loss?

"by " Albert Stein

Occupational hearing loss is the result of damage to the inner ear. Harm is caused from the noise or vibrations that form a part of certain jobs.

It is traditionally associated with certain sectors and jobs and it may affect more people than you think. Around 28 - 32 percent of the workforce in Australia is expected to work in an environment where the level of damaging noise.*

Occupational hearing loss can be caused by a range of factors, from short time exposure to an excessively loud noise to prolonged exposure to moderate noise.

Being around oxotoxic chemicals may also increase the risk, according to Safe Work Australia. It is believed these may interfere with noise to produce hearing loss.

People in noisy environments face a higher risk of developing this condition, with construction workers, farmers, airline ground maintenance staff and musicians more commonly affected.

While partial or full hearing loss is one of the main indications your career is affecting your ears, you may notice this gets worse as you continue to be exposed to loud noise.

Some people also find they develop tinnitus, which is when you can hear a ringing, buzzing or whistling or other noise in your ear, even when there is no background noise.

In order to minimise further damage, you may want to consider wearing ear protectors such as ear muffs or ear plugs.

Unfortunately, the damage caused is usually permanent. However, there are many products on the market that can help you to maintain your regular lifestyle.

For more advice about what you can try, why not make an appointment with your local clinician at Audika? He or she can help you with any hearing aid questions you may have and even offer you advice to develop coping skills such as lip reading that will ensure you can get on with life.

Safe Work Australia, Noise, Accessed January 23, 2019. Available here.