Put Our Experience To Work For You

What should you know about hearing loss in factories?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Factory work is often strenuous and filled with a variety of hazards. While most people will focus on overly obvious hazards, such as moving machinery, there’s another hazard to think about – noise exposure. 

The noise level in a factory can be considerable and prolonged exposure can lead to hearing loss. A factory worker who has hearing loss may not be able to do their job duties properly, so they may be unable to work. Unfortunately, by the time hearing loss is discovered, it might not be treatable. 

Occupational noise exposure standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets specific safety regulations to help protect the hearing of all workers. OSHA sets the standard of having permissible noise exposure of up to 90 decibels (dB) for people who work in the factory for eight hours per day. 

Hearing conservation programs are required if the noise level exceeds the set limit. As part of this program, employers must provide hearing protection, monitor noise levels and conduct employee hearing tests. 

Effects of prolonged exposure

Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can lead to damage in the inner ear. The inner ear is critical in transmitting sounds to the brain. Permanent hearing loss can occur with this type of damage. 

Hearing loss often starts off with symptoms that are almost unnoticeable. The worker may have trouble hearing people speak to them. They may turn the television up higher than usual. They may also have a ringing in their ears or a feeling of fullness in their ears. These symptoms often continue to progress until the permanent damage to the ear is obvious. 

Medical care for hearing loss is critical for factory workers. The cost of this care should be covered by workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, these workers may have to fight to get the benefits they’re due.