Occupational Noise Exposure
Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss. Short term exposure to loud noise can also cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noise. However, repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
Loud noise can create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals. The effects of noise induced hearing loss can be profound, limiting your ability to hear high frequency sounds, understand speech, and seriously impairing your ability to communicate.
The following references provide assistance in recognizing the health effects of excessive noise.
- Workplace Noise: More than just "All Ears". NIOSH Science Blog, (June 28, 2018). This blog discusses some of the non-auditory effects from occupational noise, including potential cardiovascular effects.
- Occupational exposure to noise: evaluation, prevention and control. World Health Organization (WHO). Provides an in depth look at all aspects of noise.
- Noise at Work. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). Noise topic page from EU-OSHA, including guidance materials, publications, standards, reports, and other resources, such as the following:
- Better Hearing Institute. Educational resources on noise and hearing loss.
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Promotes the interests of and provides the highest quality services for professionals in audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech and hearing science, and advocates for people with communication disabilities.
- Hearing Loss. Provides the signs of hearing loss, and statistics about its prevalence among adults.