Chronic exposure to noise at work is detrimental to the well-being of employees. Many business owners do not consider the impact of noise as a serious risk to health. When someone develops an illness is response to the issue, Worker’s Compensation Insurance seldom kicks in. While some industrial workers are provided with protective gear for noise cancellation, the majority is left to suffer. WHO claims that loss of working days, reduced productivity, and healthcare costs that result from noise pollution cost 30 billion euros to Europe each year. A loud working environment is more than just plain annoying and can lead to a number of problems:
Stress and Fatigue
Noise stimulates the nervous system, giving rise to the release of stress hormones. This increases heart rate and blood pressure that could later develop into a cardiovascular disease. The person exposed to excessive noise levels experiences headaches and weariness. The ergonomics of the workplace deteriorate, as employees feel restless and are likely to slouch in a sitting position. Wearing ear buds may temporarily solve the issue, but prolonged use becomes uncomfortable.
Loss of Concentration and Productivity
Unwanted noise is distracting and disturbing to our sense of hearing. Jobs that require brain exercise and intelligence are more prone to negative impacts. Noise prevents a person from focusing on other things or multitasking. Employees get tired and frustrated, which prevents them from working to their full potential. Some people plug in their headphones and listen to music to eliminate the noise, though it is not very effective. While unwanted acoustics may not affect repetitive tasks or work limited to physical exertion, thinking skills and single-mindedness are jeopardized.
A noisy environment compromises speech and listening between team members. They cannot properly hear each other over the noise and face difficulty in phrasing their statements. This leads to communication gaps, misinterpretations, and increased probability of accidents, causing additional personal injuries. Speaking loudly within a noisy place promotes other mental health and social problems. The person gets accustomed to yelling all the time, which is painful for individuals out of the workplace.
Long-term exposure to elevated noise levels can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus is ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears that remains even after the person has left the noisy workplace. It may be constant or intermittent, making a person feel irritated throughout the day. Tinnitus is the first sign of serious hearing problems, and can lead to complete loss of hearing if not treated immediately. It is accompanied by a dizzy sensation that makes the head throb and vision seem blurry at times.
Hearing Loss or Impairment
Continuous contact with noise instigates damage of the eardrum and other delicate parts around it. This may block transmission of sound partially or entirely over time. Sometimes the auditory sensors of the brain are affected, leading to permanent hearing impairment. Noise induced hearing loss is most common among industrial workers who are constantly surrounded by operative machinery that generate a deafening commotion. The person experiencing hearing loss first loses the ability to hear high-pitched sounds and later stops making out low-pitched sounds as well.
If you have encountered a hearing disability or any other noise induced injury in relation to your occupation, contact and consult a workplace injury attorney before time runs out.