Is your work putting you at a higher risk of premature hearing loss

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Hearing loss for most people generally develops over many years, with the effects becoming apparent only gradually, this makes it difficult for those affected to recognise that they are suffering from a hearing impairment.

One of the leading causes of hearing loss is excessive noise exposure.  Noise induced hearing loss more likely to be a hazard for those who work in noisy environments , for example a construction site or a dairy farm. This is backed up through a study conducted by Kurmis, A. P., & Apps, S. A. (2007) which showed that 37% of all adult hearing loss cases could be attributed to workplace noise1.

This may be a potential issue for many New Zealanders, with several major industries shown to have a higher than average exposure to loud noise in the workplace. Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders work in Manufacturing, Agriculture, Construction and Transport2, meaning that premature hearing loss from noise exposure could affect up to thousands of people nationally.

Major companies often take precautions to help prevent noise induced hearing loss, however a small farmer or panel beater may not have these precautions in place and this can cause problems later in life. This is supported by a study of 586 farm workers in New Zealand’s southland district, most workers studied had a moderate hearing loss, with a significant minority having significant hearing loss3.

So what should you do if you have experienced frequent loud noises at work and are concerned about potential hearing loss? There are five signs that indicate you may have a hearing loss.

1: Do you find it difficult to understand phone conversations clearly?

2: Does your family complain about the volume when you are listening to the radio or television?

3: Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in noisy environments?

4: Do you often feel exhausted after family celebrations because listening is such an effort?

5: Do you hear better when you can look at the person talking to you?

If any of these signs apply to you, don’t endure it, you can and should do something about it, and you may be eligible for financial support. The New Zealand Government’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will provide financial support for injury related hearing loss, which, depending on the level of injury, can include fully funded hearing aids.

At House of Hearing we help people with hearing loss navigate through the ACC claims process every day. If you think you may have hearing loss and feel it may have been caused through your work or an injury contact our local hearing experts