According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hearing loss is one of the most common types of occupational illness in the manufacturing sector. To qualify as occupational hearing loss, the loss must leave a worker disabled and it must have occurred while on the job. Further, the level of hearing loss has to be more than 10% when factoring both ears. Many manufacturing plants supply hearing protection; however, sometimes hearing loss can still occur, especially with long-term employees.
It is believed that many more workers may suffer from hearing loss who have not yet become disabled. This means that there may be many cases of hearing loss while on the job that have not yet been recorded. To make matters slightly more complicated, many workers do not lose their hearing in a sudden manner. Instead, they lose their hearing gradually over time. In some cases, a worker may not realize that a hearing problem exists.
Most hearing loss occurs in the first 10 years of exposure to loud noise, which may make it even more important to educate new workers about the dangers of the problem. However, it may be possible to prevent or reduce hearing loss by sharing information about such an issue with workers. Employers may also attempt to partner with researchers to determine the true extent of hearing loss and steps that can be taken to keep workers safe.
If you feel you have work-related hearing loss, the first thing to do is have your hearing tested and report that test to your employer. Further, make sure to wear hearing protection at all times while on the plant floor.