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protection against industrial hearing loss

Protect Your Hearing: A Comprehensive Guide to Preventing Industrial Deafness

Industrial deafness, also known as occupational hearing loss (OHL), is a serious and irreversible condition that affects millions of workers worldwide. It’s caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises in the workplace, which damage the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear. This damage can lead to difficulty hearing speech, muffled sounds, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and even social isolation.

Is Industrial Deafness Preventable?

The good news is that industrial deafness is largely preventable. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and resources to protect your hearing in industrial environments.

Protecting Yourself from Industrial Deafness: 4 Essential Tips

Here are the measures you can take to ensure protection from industrial deafness.

1. Familiarize Yourself with Noise Levels

It’s essential to acquaint yourself with the noise levels in your workplace. Employers have a responsibility to assess and communicate workplace noise hazards to employees. You can request access to these assessments to gain a better understanding of potential risks associated with noise exposure. By being informed about the noise levels in your environment, you can take proactive steps to protect your hearing health.

2. Utilize Hearing Protection

Protecting your hearing is paramount, especially in noisy work environments. When selecting hearing protection, it’s crucial to choose the appropriate type based on noise levels and personal comfort preferences. Whether it’s earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, ensuring a proper fit is essential for their effectiveness. 

Additionally, for individuals with specific hearing needs or discomfort with standard options, exploring custom-moulded earplugs can provide a tailored solution for optimal protection.

3. Adopt Personal Habits

Incorporating personal habits that minimize exposure to loud noise is key to preserving your hearing health. Taking regular breaks during work shifts can help limit continuous exposure to loud noise. Monitoring your exposure using smartphone apps or noise dosimeters allows you to track personal noise exposure levels and adjust your behaviour accordingly. 

4. Invest in Communication Solutions

Enhancing communication and situational awareness in noisy environments is essential for safety and efficiency. Implementing visual alerts, such as flashing lights or visual cues, can supplement auditory warnings and ensure important information is effectively conveyed. 

Additionally, utilizing hearing-assistive technology, such as cochlear implants, or assistive listening devices, can significantly improve communication and facilitate better understanding in challenging listening situations.

What are the Symptoms of Industrial Deafness?

The symptoms of hearing loss vary widely and can differ in severity and nature from person to person affected by the condition. In many cases, symptoms of hearing loss develop gradually, so the impact on hearing may only become noticeable after a significant period.

Below is a list of common symptoms of industrial deafness and hearing loss. Early detection and management of hearing loss are crucial for your health, as they can prevent further damage, as well as for your claim. Therefore, it is advisable to seek a professional assessment whenever noticeable changes to your hearing occur, whether or not those symptoms are listed below.

1. Reduced Hearing Ability:

Difficulty hearing everyday conversations, especially in noisy environments.

2. Muffled Hearing:

Sounds and voices may seem distant or muffled, making it difficult to understand speech clearly.

3. Tinnitus:

Ringing, buzzing, hissing, or whistling sounds in the ears, often noticeable in quiet settings.

4. Difficulty Hearing High Frequencies:

Struggling to hear high-pitched sounds, such as alarms, birds chirping, or children’s voices.

5. Need for Higher Volume:

Increasing the volume on devices like televisions and radios more than usual to hear properly.

6. Avoidance of Social Situations:

Withdrawing from conversations or social activities due to difficulty in hearing.

7. Balance Issues:

Sometimes associated with inner ear problems, leading to dizziness or difficulties with balance.

8. Pain and Discomfort:

Sensing a physical sensation of pain or pressure in the ears, usually upon exposure to loud noises.

Industrial Deafness Claims in NSW

People who have sustained industrial deafness in NSW are entitled to claim Hearing aids and Lump sum compensation under the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme.

If you were exposed to noisy employment in NSW after 1 January 2002, your audiogram will need to demonstrate a binaural hearing loss of at least 20.5% to be eligible for lump sum compensation. There are several exceptions to this threshold depending on when your injury occurred and the industry that you work in. Get in touch with Professional Experts to know more.

Final Verdict

Hearing loss from workplace environments is a major issue that has been omnipresent throughout Australia, particularly for those in the construction and manufacturing industries. Sadly, most of these affected people aren’t even aware of the fact that they are entitled to compensation for their hearing loss condition.

Hearing Aids Professionals is committed to offering comprehensive assistance, including legal and medical guidance, to navigate industrial deafness claims in NSW. If you encounter obstacles in pursuing compensation, do not hesitate to reach out to Hearing Aids Professionals for expert support.  

Get in touch and stay safe!

FAQs

Industries such as construction, manufacturing, mining, and transportation, where workers are exposed to high levels of noise or harmful environments, are often linked to industrial deafness.

Workers should report their condition to their employer, seek medical evaluation and documentation of the hearing loss, and engage a legal representative experienced in handling industrial deafness claims.

Success factors may include proving that the hearing loss was caused by workplace conditions, meeting the required thresholds for impairment, and adhering to legal deadlines for filing claims.

Compensation may include payments for medical expenses, loss of earnings, rehabilitation costs, and lump-sum payments for permanent impairment or disability resulting from industrial deafness.