7 Industries Where Employees are More Likely to Experience Occupational Hearing Loss

090818-N-0807W-092 SASEBO, Japan (Aug. 18, 2009) Construction Electrician 2nd Class Eric Smith, from Rochester, N.Y., and Utilitiesman 2nd Class Kareen Vilbrun, from Boston, both assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, break down rocks with a jackhammer during a building renovation at Fleet Activities Sasebo.  Seabees from NMCB-1, homeported in Gulfport, Miss., arrived in Sasebo to provide construction support to the naval forces in the Japan region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)

Are you worried about possible hearing loss from too much noise at work?  Excessive noise levels in the workplace are the primary cause of hearing loss, so you have good reason to be concerned. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 22 million employees are exposed to dangerous noise levels on the job and another 9 million risk occupational hearing loss due to chemicals or other environmental factors.

For sufferers of work related hearing loss, hearables might be a viable solution for enhanced hearing without using a full-blown hearing aid. However, like most afflictions, prevention is the best cure, and avoiding prolonged exposure to loud noises is the best way to avoid hearing loss.

Some jobs are simply noisier than others, and here are seven occupations where employees are more likely to suffer from occupational hearing loss

  1. Mining

Those working in the mining industry have a higher chance of suffering from industrial hearing loss than in any other industry. The CDC estimates that, by the age of 50, almost half of male miners will have some form of hearing impairment and that number rises to 70% by age 60.

  1. Construction

Construction and trades workers are also among groups who could benefit the most from using smart earbuds. Construction workers are routinely exposed to machinery that produces sound in excess of 90 decibels. While 90 decibels is the OSHA-imposed limit for the construction industry, it is often exceeded, making this class the second-highest ranking occupation for occupational deafness. Construction trades workers are also exposed, with more than 40% of both carpenters and plumbers reporting that they’ve experienced perceived hearing loss.

  1. Manufacturing

As a total number in the U.S., manufacturing workers suffer from more work related hearing loss disabilities than in any other industry. Manufacturing positions vary, but many workers are exposed to machinery that generates over 90 decibels of noise for extended periods of time.

  1. Transportation

Transportation workers are exposed to a variety of sounds that can lead to industrial hearing loss. The average city noise is 80 decibels and workers at airports are exposed to jet engine noise that can come close to 150 decibels. Depending on where one works and upon local safety regulations, the frequency of work-related hearing loss varies.

  1. Agriculture

One recent industrial hearing loss study showed some improvements in the agriculture, forestry, and hunting category. But, the occupational hearing loss rates in these groups are still nearly as high as in the transportation industry.

  1. Armed Force

The number one disability among our nation’s veteran’s is hearing loss. The Deafness Research Foundation reports that as many as 65% of troops returning from Afghanistan suffer from noise-induced hearing loss due to exposure to artillery, heaving machinery, and jet engine noise.

  1. Music Business

You don’t need to be a rock star or even a roadie to suffer from hearing loss at work, although these professions are surely at risk. Anyone who works around loud music has a higher risk of experiencing occupational deafness. This includes occupations such as DJs, bartenders, wait staff, and even classical musicians. The average noise level in a nightclub is 96 decibels and peak volumes in an orchestra pit can reach 130 decibels.

The best cure for hearing loss is prevention. Industrial hearing loss can’t be reversed so if you’re employed in one of these noisy occupations take steps to protect your precious hearing.