Is your employees’ hearing at risk?
Hearing is incredibly easy to damage and often can’t be recovered without expensive hearing aids, creating discomfort within those who are affected. This can cause issues within the workplace, through communication difficulties or by impacting the wellbeing of staff.
The problem is not limited to traditionally loud businesses such as factories, mines and assembly plants either, with nearly all companies vulnerable to its effects.
This is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has released research detailing hearing loss within the workplace and the role played by personal music players. The use of these needs to be included in health and safety guidelines, which can be tracked and managed through HRMS for small business or other software services.
According to the WHO, up to 1.1 billion young adults worldwide are at risk of hearing loss or damage through the use of these devices. The organisation’s report found that around 50 per cent of the 12- to 35-year-olds surveyed subject themselves to unsafe sound levels in this manner, with another 40 per cent suffering similar afflictions due to attending live music events.
Strict decibel guidelines are provided by the WHO, which states that 85dB over eight hours or 100dB for just 15 minutes, without sufficient protection, is enough to cause harmful damage. Minor effects include tinnitus (ringing ears), while at the other end of the spectrum sits permanent hearing loss.
The WHO recommends a few easy-to-follow tips that businesses can implement in their health and safety policies to protect workers. An obvious measure is to provide protection where needed, such as ear plugs. Also recommended is a limit on the use of personal music players with headphones to just an hour per day, with a strict limit on the level of volume.
Regular hearing check-ups can also be promoted at work to ensure any issues are caught early to prevent further complications.