Working in factories or on construction sites may bring a high risk of hearing loss. Jobs requiring blasting or grinding may cause permanent hearing impairment, as noted on the Occupational Health and Safety website.
Industrial machines may expose workers to dangerous noise levels. Combined with continuous physical vibrations, employees may gradually lose their ability to hear.
Hearing loss may lead to an inability to work
The loss of hearing on its own makes it difficult for an employee to perform his or her regular work tasks. It can also make the workplace dangerous. Without hearing a machine’s warning signals, for example, a worker may experience a devastating injury.
When the level of hazardous noise reaches at least 85 decibels, an employee needs to raise his or her voice. Verbal communication between coworkers may eventually become difficult or impossible. A coworker three feet away may not hear clearly because of the noise level.
Prolonged exposure to loud noise may destroy the nerves located in the inner ear. Once nerve damage becomes permanent, an individual may no longer have the physical ability to carry out his or her job duties.
Hearing loss may cause other serious conditions to develop
In addition to hearing loss, affected individuals may develop mental health issues. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health determined that workers with hearing loss also experienced cognitive decline and depression. Research also shows a connection between dangerous noise levels and high blood pressure.
According to the CDC, each year approximately 22 million employees across the U.S. work while exposed to harmful noise. Individuals who become unable to work due to hearing loss may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance.