Hearing Loss and Listening Fatigue Part 3: Fatigue at Work

What if your hearing loss caused you an injury? What if you didn’t hear that tool falling and you ended up with nasty cut or broken bone? What if you were so tired from trying to hear that you made a dangerous mistake?

Hearing loss and the exhaustion that comes with it can lead to injuries in the workplace. Workplaces involving loud machinery, hard surfaces, loud music or other ongoing, noisy elements affect a person’s ability to pay attention. Hearing loss makes it difficult to hear speech or sounds, and this is even worse in a noisy environment. For a person who has hearing loss, being able to hear and interpret a singular sound or word demands incredible focus and almost all his or her attention.

In a workplace with machinery or tools, this adaptive focusing technique can be especially dangerous, leaving the individual vulnerable to accidents, especially when completing complex or dangerous tasks. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, noise can increase the risk of an accident or injury in the following ways:

  • Reducing signal recognition
  • Limiting or decreasing ability to locate sound or communicate verbally
  • Misunderstanding of oral instructions leading to dangerous practices or results
  • Masking sounds of approaching dangers or warnings

People with hearing loss may miss some sounds due to noise including vehicles moving at slow speeds or dangerous machinery operating such as blenders or saws. Both can result in injury or death. 

Other injuries or accidents in the workplace that result from hearing loss include falls and broken bones. In the European Agency’s report above, a worker fell trying to climb to hear instructions from a colleague who was on a higher scaffolding level. The man suffered several fractures. 

If you suffer from hearing loss and work in a noisy environment, you could be putting yourself in danger. Hearing aids can help not only to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring but they can also help protect the user from further hearing loss. Starkey offers the latest in hearing aid technology, including devices compatible with your iPhone or Android device.

Maybe you don’t have hearing loss, but you work in a noisy environment and could still be at risk for noise-induced accidents. SoundGear is the latest in hearing protection for those working in an industrial environment. SoundGear works to eliminate and reduce noises 95 decibels and above while amplifying the sounds and speech you want and need to hear. 

Source: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/6805535

By Sarah Bricker