It is easy to get used to noise, especially in a city. It may only be when you escape to the peace of the countryside for a day that you realize how loud things have been.
Constant noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing damage. One of the most common reasons for this exposure is people’s jobs. Many workplaces expose people to levels of noise that are unsafe, especially over a prolonged period of time.
Employers must take action at 85 decibels.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to take steps to protect workers’ hearing when the average exposure over an eight-hour working day is 85 decibels or more.
What does 85 decibels sound like?
You could experience 85 decibels inside a car in heavy traffic or in a noisy restaurant. Many workplaces have noise much higher all day long. For example, if you work in a bar with loud music, in a warehouse with heavy machinery, or on a construction site.
Jobs that involve you working out on the street close to traffic could also be dangerous to your hearing – for example, if you mend roads, direct traffic or sell hotdogs to passing pedestrians. Even working in a hair salon could take noise to dangerous levels as there are often numerous hairdryers in use at once.
If your hearing has suffered due to your job, you cannot just quit your job and hope it will return – it won’t. What you may be able to do is seek compensation, especially if you feel your employer did not do enough to protect you.