10 Jobs That Can Cause Hearing Loss

10 Jobs That Can Cause Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss does work on your hearing — this is your guide to America’s loudest jobs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year. Many people don’t realize they have a hearing loss until it’s too late. Even then, you might not realize that your hearing has gotten markedly worse because you no longer have a reference point to understand what healthy hearing is — and you don’t know what you’re not hearing.

The jobs that can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) aren’t always obvious. Does your job put you at risk (normal conversation = 60 decibels)?

1. Flight crew

Members of flight crews experience up to 130 decibels (dB) of noise during takeoff, which is loud enough to rupture an eardrum. Prolonged exposure — 15 minutes or more — to noise above 100 dB can cause permanent hearing loss.

2. Farmer

Farmers are frequently exposed to excessive noise, ranking among the top three occupations and industries with the highest risk for hearing loss. This occupation works with heavy machinery that puts them at risk from both tools essential to their position and environmental noise (a pig squeal is 130 db).

3. Physical education teacher

We bet you just learned something new! The cumulative noise exposure of ringing bells, slamming lockers, loud announcements, and other random school noises may be putting teachers’ hearing at risk. Teachers are at risk of being exposed to up to 125 dB.

4. Ambulance driver

An ambulance siren at close range is 120 dB, which is loud enough to feel ear pain instantly.

5. Manufacturer or factory worker

Deafening sounds from trucks and machinery pose the risk of noise-induced hearing loss for factory workers. They are susceptible to noises that reach 115 dB.

6. Dentist

The noise produced by a high-speed turbine drill is not only annoying to the patient, but also the dentist! Dentists are at risk of 115 dB during their workday.

7. Rock stars and athletes

Concerts and loud sporting events can emit 110 to 115 dB for three hours or more — but you risk permanent hearing damage with just 15 minutes of exposure.

8. Bouncers and bartenders

Similar to number four, these jobs are high energy and also at a high risk for NIHL.

9. Construction worker

From passing traffic to jackhammers, construction workers at all sorts of sites are subject to a variety of power tools and other sources of loud noise. For instance, a hammer drill is just over 110 dB.

10. Motorcycle rider or courier

The faster you ride, the faster you’re likely to lose your hearing. Going 50 mph exposes ears to 90 dB of noise under the helmet.

If you don’t have these job descriptions, think about when you’re in the same situation. Ever been to a concert? On the runway? Yeah — you’re at risk too.

More About NIHL

NIHL is the most common type of hearing loss that people experience. It accounts for nearly all cases of permanent hearing loss, and it is the result of repeated exposure to loud noises that damage the delicate sensors in the inner ear.

The point at which your hearing might be permanently damaged is 85 dB, for which the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has developed standards to protect employees in noisy work environments, but many of us aren’t aware of when noise is loud enough to cause damage.

OK, We’ve Got Your Attention. Here’s What You Can Do.

It all starts with a hearing test.

Call us today to get your hearing examined — from there we can decide what your specific solution is.

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

Tinnitus: Common, Constant, Treatable, and Manageable

Tinnitus sounds different to everyone, so it makes sense that there are four different types: subjective, objective, neurological, and somatic. Tinnitus is a fairly common medical malady that presents in a variety of ways. Simply defined, it is a phantom ringing, whooshing, or buzzing noise in your ear that only you can hear.

Hearing Things? No, You’re Not Crazy.
People experience tinnitus in a variety of ways: in some, a simple head shake will make the annoyance vanish; others, however, describe the condition as debilitating. Though research is ongoing, currently there is no cure. But relief can comes from a variety of treatments.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Typically the cause of tinnitus is uncertain. If there is no damage to the auditory system, your provider will look into these possible causes:

  • Jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Chronic neck muscle strain
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Certain medications
  • Wax buildup
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • A (generally benign) tumor that creates a strain on the arteries in the neck and head

The Four Different Types of Tinnitus:

  1. Subjective tinnitus: The most common form of tinnitus. Subjective symptoms can only be heard by the affected individual are usually caused by exposure to excessive noise. This type of tinnitus can appear and disappear suddenly, and may last 3–12 months at a time. In some severe cases, it may never stop.
  2. Neurological tinnitus: Usually caused by a disorder, such as Meniere’s disease, that primarily affects the brain’s auditory functions.
  3. Somatic tinnitus: Related to the sensory system. This form is caused, worsened, or otherwise related to the sensory system.
  4. Objective tinnitus: A rare form of tinnitus that may be caused by involuntary muscle contractions or vascular deformities. When the cause is treated, the tinnitus usually stops entirely. This is the only form of tinnitus that can be heard by an outside observer, and the only type that has the potential for a permanent fix.

Some Subtypes:

  • Musical tinnitus: Also called musical hallucinations or auditory imagery, this type is less common. Simple tones or layers of tones come together to recreate a melody or composition. Musical tinnitus tends to occur in people who have had hearing loss and tinnitus for some time, though people with normal hearing or increased sensitivity to sound can also have musical hallucinations.
  • Pulsatile tinnitus: A rhythmic tinnitus that aligns with the beat of the heart. It usually indicates a change of blood flow to the vessels near the ear or an increase in awareness of the blood flow to the ear.
  • Low-frequency tinnitus: Perhaps the most confusing type of tinnitus because sufferers aren’t sure whether the sound is being produced internally or externally. Often, the tones correspond to the two lowest octaves on a piano and are described as a humming, murmuring, rumbling, or deep droning. This type of noise seems to affect people most strongly.

Tinnitus can be managed through strategies that make it less bothersome. No single approach works for everyone, and there is no FDA-approved drug treatment, supplement, or herb proven to be any more effective than a placebo. Behavioral strategies and sound-generating devices often offer the best treatment results — this is partially why distracting the individual’s attention from these sounds can prevent a chronic manifestation.

Some of the most effective methods of tinnitus management are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy
  • Masking
  • Biofeedback

There are countless treatment options, but they vary in effectiveness depending upon the type of tinnitus. More than 50 percent of those who experience tinnitus have an inner-ear hearing impairment, meaning that a connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is likely. Though wearing hearing aids helps ease tinnitus (they amplify the sounds outside, making the “inside” sounds less frequent), they are not the only method: careful diagnosis by a professional with years of experience creating solutions for tinnitus sufferers is essential.