As kids, when we’re deciding what we want to be when we grow up, we often settle on something that makes us feel good. Hello, superheroes! As we get older, we begin to consider other factors such as schooling, pay, flexibility and more practical sides to a job. What we rarely consider is how that job may affect our hearing.
Some jobs seem to be made for hearing loss, such as airport ground crew, DJs, and construction workers. In many jobs like these, where decibels reach dangerous levels, employees are required to wear ear protection at all times to prevent hearing impairment.
What about the jobs that at first glance seem safe for our hearing? Researchers are now looking beyond the obvious and sounding the alarm about other occupations that may come with hearing risks.
Preschool teachers have to skip hearing protection
How much hearing damage could a classroom of preschoolers cause? According to a recent study, plenty! According to findings from the University of Gothenburg, “seven out of ten female preschool teachers suffer from sound-induced auditory fatigue, one out of two has difficulty understanding speech and four out of ten become hypersensitive to sound.”
Unlike other professions where noise is prevalent, preschool teachers are unable to use hearing protection devices. It is essential for these teachers to listen and communicate with children throughout the day.
“Hearing protection devices are normally the main intervention if the sound level cannot be reduced in another way, and it may be necessary if you have a child who subjects your ears to crying for a whole day during their introductory period at preschool. But the design of the premises and room acoustics also have to be considered. In a large room with solid walls, it becomes noisy no matter how educational and strategic you are in your work,” says Sofie Fredriksson an audiologist with a doctorate from the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Department at Sahlgrenska Academy.
Gardeners face more than just decibels
Whether you are an avid gardener or a weekend warrior out mowing the lawn, you know gardening comes with some noise from lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, weed whips and other power tools. For professionals, hearing protection is a given, but not just to cut down on damaging decibels. A recent study out of Melbourne found another reason always to protect your ears when gardening.
The favorite yucca plant and similar vegetation can permanently damage your hearing in an instant. The long and spiked leaves are often to blame for perforating eardrums and going even further to damage the small structures of the inner ear.
“That’s what causes very significant and permanent injury to the hearing,” said ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon Professor Stephen O’Leary, who authored the study report published in the UK journal Clinical Otolaryngology.
Motorcycle couriers and delivery people deal with a side of wind noise
Opting for a delivery job that works around your schedule? Be sure to help prevent hearing loss with the right helmet. While it’s common knowledge that motorcycles and motorbikes can be loud, you may not link about the noise of the wind rushing past your ear.
Experts recommend that people in these jobs wear a helmet that covers the whole head, including the ears, rather than one that just covers the top of the head. No amount of tips will make up for damaged hearing down the road.
Forestry and fishing jobs aren’t as peaceful as you think
We may think of fishing and forestry jobs out in nature as quieter and more peaceful, but a recent study says otherwise. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, specific jobs within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (AFFH) industry sector, have an elevated risk of hearing loss including:
- Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products (growing trees for reforestation or gathering barks, gums, fibers, etc. from trees)
- Timber Tract Operations (harvesting standing trees to make timber)
- Fishing (those fishing for finfish such as tuna, salmon, trout, etc.)
- Aquaculture (fish farms or hatcheries)
Researchers examined the results of 17,299 hearing tests from workers employed at 458 companies in the AFFH sector for the study.
If you are exposed to noise at your job, even lower levels for extended periods of time, it’s crucial to take steps to protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss.
Start protecting your hearing health today by scheduling a hearing evaluation with our office.