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Hearing loss America’s most common work injury

Some California work environments are more dangerous than others. For example, if you make your living in construction, mining or at sea, you face an elevated chance of suffering a work-related injury compared to employees in many other lines of work. However, research shows that America’s most common workplace injury is not one that is exclusive to these dangerous settings. Instead, the nation’s most common work-related injury is hearing loss.

Per the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 22 million American employees undergo exposure to hazardous levels of noise while working each year. Also, U.S. employers shell out an estimated $242 million in workers’ compensation costs related to hearing loss on an annual basis.

How noise level impacts hearing loss

Studies show that Americans who work in environments where they face moderate levels of noise face a higher risk of suffering work-related hearing loss than those in high-noise environments. This is likely due, at least in part, to the fact that workers in high-noise environments have no doubt about the dangers that exist from loud noises and are therefore more likely to use ear protection.

What workers should do to reduce risks

Workers should wear ear protection in environments where noise is an issue, regardless of whether the noise they face is light, moderate or severe. If your work environment places you at especially high risk for hearing loss, your employer also has to follow certain mandates set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with regard to training you about ear protection and noise-related risks.

Government agencies continue to search for ways to reduce noise levels and associated risks in American workplaces.