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Hearing Loss

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Hearing Loss

Have you ever driven or walked past a job site and heard the noise from loud equipment running all day? Think about how loud it is for workers to operate those machines all day long. Exposure to loud noise all day, every day, can lead to serious hearing issues later on down the road.

The CDC has information on how to prevent hearing loss in the workplace.

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition among adults? 24% of hearing difficulty among workers is caused by occupational exposures.

OHL, or occupational hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises or ototoxic chemicals. Substances relevant to the occupational environment that are frequently listed as ototoxic solvents include carbon disulfide, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. Commonly listed under the category of ototoxic metals are lead and mercury.

The CDC considers noise levels to be hazardous at 85 decibels or higher. This can be compared to someone standing 3 feet away and having to raise their voice to communicate. On average, there are 22 million workers per year exposed to this level or higher of noise. Ototoxic chemicals can damage the ear, especially when they are combined with hazardous noise. A person taking certain ototoxic pharmaceuticals may lose hearing, become more susceptible to noise, or both. About 10 million workers per year are exposed to these chemicals.

The most common reported ototoxic drugs in clinical use are aminoglycoside antibiotics, macrolide antibiotics, salicylates, chemotherapeutic agents such as cisplatin, loop diuretics, antimalarials, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), quinine, and acetaminophen.

Almost all work- related hearing loss is permanent. This can change life drastically for someone. Understanding what you can do to prevent hearing loss is the first proactive step.

Preventing Hearing Loss:

  • Find out if the noise in your workplace is hazardous.
  • If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone at arm's length, then it is probably a hazardous level.

  • Ask your safety manager or direct supervisor to check the level of noise if you are concerned about hearing loss.

  1. Wear ear protection such as ear plugs to minimize the impact the noise has on your ears.

  2. Make sure to schedule your audiogram.

Taking proper precautions such as wearing ear plugs and receiving annual audiograms can help prevent hearing loss. Occupational Health Services at Campbell County Health provides many different services for employees to achieve and maintain their health.

Visit our website at Occupational Health Programs in Wyoming | Campbell County Health ( to learn more, or call 307-688-8378.


“CDC - NIOSH Topic: Occupational Hearing Loss (OHL) Surveillance.

“Preventing Hearing Loss | NIOSH | CDC.”

  • Category: Occupational Health