When you think about construction work, it’s pretty easy to conjure up all kinds of images of danger. After all, construction work involves a lot of heavy equipment, dangerous tools and sharp objects. Workers fall, get electrocuted, are hurt by moving vehicles and more — all the time.
There is one danger; however, construction workers face that few people (even the workers themselves) consider: Permanent hearing damage.
Hearing loss can come along gradually
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the upper limit for a safe noise level is no more than 85 decibels (dBA).
It’s estimated that construction workers are listening to noises that exceed that amount around 70% of the average shift. Forklifts, for example, operate at 90 dBA, and hammer drills operate at around 120 dBA.
Yet, most construction workers eschew hearing protection devices because they simply don’t recognize the dangers of constant noise exposure until it’s too late. It’s estimated that only about 20% of workers wear the proper safety gear they need to prevent hearing loss.
Naturally, hearing loss can happen suddenly. If a construction worker is too close to a blast site, for example, the noise could — quite literally — be deafening. However, the real risk a worker faces is the slow loss of hearing that occurs over time.
All your workplace injuries deserve treatment and compensation
If you’ve noticed a decline in your hearing that could be work-related, it’s never too soon to explore your options. Treatment (and hearing aids) can do wonders, but it’s often expensive. Workers’ compensation can help you get the benefits you need for a better future — and protect your remaining hearing.