Hearing loss affects all aspects of life. A new video series from WorkSafeBC shows how workers in different industries can be affected by noise exposure.
When we think about work-related noise exposure, we usually picture workers using loud machines in industries like construction and manufacturing. But noise-induced hearing loss affects people in other industries too. The damage is permanent — and it affects your ability to have conversations and social interactions.
This message is the focus of a new three-part video series, Protect Your Hearing, from WorkSafeBC. One of the videos, How to Use Earplugs, shows a fitness instructor at work in a spin studio.
“A fitness studio is an example of a workplace where today the volume of music is going up and up, because they’re trying to create a more exciting atmosphere,” says WorkSafeBC audiologist Sasha Brown. “Anyone teaching classes there is exposed to hazardous noise. People don’t often think of music as being hazardous.”
Some sounds (like music) might not seem very loud, but if you are exposed to them for a long time, they can damage your hearing. That’s because noise-induced hearing loss can happen gradually. It affects workers who have prolonged exposure to noise levels greater than 85 decibels. Generally, that’s as loud as a blender.
Hearing protection makes it easier to hear in a loud environment
Workers in restaurants and pubs also need to protect their hearing. (Stay tuned for a blog post on protecting the hearing of service industry workers.)
“There’s a long-standing myth among people who need to communicate with others that they can’t wear hearing protection. For example, servers think they can’t wear hearing protection because they won’t be able to hear the orders,” Sasha says. “But all evidence shows that in a loud environment people, especially those with normal hearing, actually hear speech and other salient signals better when they wear hearing protection.”
Each video is three minutes long or less and opens with a mini-story about a worker.
“We wanted to make the videos relatable to a younger audience so that young people will actually care about hearing loss and not think of it as something that only happens to old people,” Sasha says. “Hearing loss is not just going to affect you at work. It’s going to affect your lifestyle and your ability to communicate with your friends and family and everything.”
See New resources to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss for more information.