For many people, dangerous levels of noise pollution are a daily part of their working lives. High-risk environments can cause irreversible damage to your hearing, so it’s important to take preventative measures wherever possible. In this article, Health and Hearing is exploring the top 20 jobs that cause hearing loss in Australia.
What Makes a Workplace Too Loud?
Research has shown that regular exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB) will cause gradual and irreversible hearing loss. The tiny hair cells in your ear canal that send electrical signals to the brain can be damaged by long-term exposure to loud or high-impact noises. Short bursts of sounds above 115 decibels can quickly damage your hearing.
The Top 20 Jobs with Noise Pollution
Some of the occupations on this list may seem obvious; however, there are many here that may surprise you. Occupational hearing damage doesn’t discriminate between natural and mechanical noises, and it has been found that most of the damage occurs within the first 5 to 10 years in a loud occupation.
- Airline ground staff – this includes baggage handlers and ground control
- Construction workers – bulldozers, jackhammers and trucks backing up can bring noise levels to over 120dB
- Miners – the equipment used in mining creates high levels of sound pollution
- Carpenters – sawing equipment and nail guns can create between 110-130dB of noise
- Lumberjacks – chainsaws run at 120dB and above
- DJs and Musicians – loud venues, speakers and amplifiers expose the ear to above 115dB of sound
- Bar staff in nightclubs – bartenders, wait staff, security and glassies all listen to ear-piercingly loud music for long periods of time
- Railway workers – trains create huge levels of sound that workers are constantly exposed to
- Farmers – loud machinery, tractors and rotary cutters are just some of the equipment that can damage a farmer’s hearing
- Race car drivers – in NASCAR and Formula 1 events, sounds can reach 135dB
- Truck drivers – the constant running of trucks mixed with poor road conditions and congested traffic can cause damage
- Subway conductors – trains enter and leave the station at over 100dB and older tracks cause a high-pitch screeching sound
- Garbage collectors – garbage trucks can create between 85 and 100dB of sound, and this noise is constant over long shifts
- Gardeners – anyone who works in landscaping needs to use mowers, whipper snippers and power tools that run over 90dB
- Firefighters – fire alarms and sirens can reach 90dB
- Ambulance drivers – similar to firefighters, these emergency responders listen to sirens for long periods of time
- Military personnel – gunfire, aircraft, ships, explosions, drill-bells and shouting can cause irreversible hearing loss
- Nursery school teachers – classes of 30 children can be extremely noisy, and an 8-hour workday counts as high exposure
- Blacksmiths and welders – smithing and metalworking involves grinding and clanging metal and this can reach over 100dB
- Couriers – riding a motorcycle while delivering packages can cause hearing loss due to long periods of exposure and starting and stopping
Book a Hearing Test to Assess the Damage
It’s never too late to take preventative measures (link to page 7) and seek treatment for your hearing loss. Wear earplugs and earmuffs at work and speak to your boss about your concerns. If you believe you are suffering from hearing loss, book a hearing test with the team at Health and Hearing in Brisbane.
We will help you find the right hearing aids for your needs, preventing your condition from worsening as your career progresses. You can book a free consultation by calling (07) 3366 9355 or contacting us online.