Health and Safety Managers need to be aware of industrial deafness.
Prolonged or regular exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent damage to the hair cells and other structures within the cochlea, resulting in irreversible industrial deafness. The high frequency range is affected first. Continued exposure leads to progression of hearing loss. Early onset and severity of industrial deafness is associated with more years spent working in a loud environment, as well as with regular or continuous exposure to noise, rather than intermittent exposure. There is no effective medical treatment for industrial deafness, so prevention is essential. Measures that can be taken to reduce noise exposure and prevent industrial deafness include using earplugs or earmuffs, maintaining a safe distance from noise sources, and using sound-dampening materials in work areas.
Industrial deafness is the most common Occupational disease in the world, affecting millions of workers every year. But industrial deafness is not the only noise-induced health problem. Studies have shown that exposure to loud noise can also lead to other health problems such as insomnia, cardiovascular illnesses, and even depression. The good news is that these health problems can be prevented by taking steps to reduce noise exposure.
It is important to prioritise prevention and control measures in workplaces where exposure to noise is a risk. This may include measures such as providing personal protective equipment, implementing engineering controls, and developing policy interventions to reduce exposure to hazardous noise levels.