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How noisy is your workplace?

Many adults begin to suffer from some form of hearing loss before middle age. This is normal, and it is usually only children and teenagers who can hear the so-called mosquito tones on cellphones and other devices, which are so high-pitched that adults’ ears cannot detect them. However, your hearing can become damaged beyond what is normal for your age if you experience regular exposure to loud noise. You and other Iowa residents should be aware of the potential for hearing loss if you work in a loud industry.

Many industries typically involve a high level of noise, particularly the following:

  • Construction
  • Military
  • Mining
  • Factories
  • Music venues
  • Bars

However, you do not need to work in one of these fields to experience hearing loss or another noise-related condition, explains the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Moderate noise can also affect your hearing, especially if it is constant or occurs in regular bursts, such as a job in which alarm bells frequently blare or a workplace where someone is always turning the radio up too high. Too much noise can also cause anxiety, depression, headaches and a reduced ability to perform your job effectively.

If constant or sudden moderate to loud noises are a regular part of your job, you may consider ways to protect your hearing, such as wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. If possible, you could take measures to reduce the noise, like asking your co-workers if they can turn down the radio or moving your workspace to a quieter area. It is also important for you and your co-workers to receive regular hearing screenings and education on reducing the risk of hearing loss if you work in a noisy environment. Your employer may wish to provide these options to lower workers’ compensation claims. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation if a loud workplace is affecting your hearing or job performance.

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