Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of sensorineural hearing loss. Many activities can put you at risk, including jobs and various hobbies. Research has shown that loggers are one profession that may be at an increased risk for hearing loss.
Loggers More Likely to Experience Hearing Loss
A study from 2017 wanted to determine the prevalence of hearing loss among workers within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (AFFH) sector. Researchers looked at audiograms from 1.4 million workers taken between 2003 to 2012. They found that workers in the forestry sub-sectors had the highest rates of hearing loss. Specifically:
- Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products: 36% had hearing loss
- Timber Tract Operations: 22% had hearing loss
Loggers engage in several activities where noise levels regularly reach above 85 decibels (dB). Any sound that volume or higher may put you at risk of hearing loss. Some particularly loud activities that loggers must do, including using chainsaws and unlatching cables to move and hold logs, can be especially loud and potentially damaging.
How Does Noise Cause Hearing Loss
Loud noises, whether through repeated exposure or being near a loud blast, can damage the hair cells of the inner ear. These cells play a crucial role in the hearing process. Once these hair cells are damaged, they cannot be repaired. Enough damage can lead to permanent hearing loss.
How Loggers Can Protect Their Hearing
If your workplace exposes you to loud noises, it’s their responsibility to provide you with ways to protect your ears from damage. For loggers, this can include taking such actions as:
- Reducing exposure time for workers who operate loud equipment
- Installing silencers and mufflers when appropriate
- Making sure all equipment, such as hand tools and vehicles, are well-maintained and receive regular inspections.
- Providing well-fitted hearing protection in the form of earmuffs or earplugs to all workers and ensuring that they consistently wear them while on the job
- Providing workers with the ability to undergo regular hearing tests to screen for any changes
Treating Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
If a hearing test reveals that you have hearing loss, your audiologist will likely recommend hearing aids. Not only can treating hearing loss help you prevent doing further damage to your hearing but using hearing aids has a variety of other benefits as well, including:
- Improving your ability to communicate with others in louder environments, like Pineapple Ink Tavern
- Reducing levels of anxiety and depression
- Lowering your risk of cognitive decline and dementia
- Reducing your risk of balance issues and injuries from falls
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Augusta - Aiken ENT & Allergy today.