You don’t have to run a jackhammer for eight hours a day to be at risk for workplace hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in the United States, and noisy jobs can negatively impact your ears.

Some industries pose a particular risk for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) like construction, music, and emergency medical. In each field, there is a pervading lack of hearing protection, but the good news is there are easy ways to protect your ears.

How It Affects Your Work

Overtime NIHL can become a detriment to your home and work life. When you have trouble hearing, you miss out on valuable audio cues that could mean the difference between safety and injury. Untreated hearing loss also leads to cognitive decline, which can affect your ability to work at all.

Signs of workplace hearing loss include:

  • Tinnitus or hyperacusis
  • Trouble communicating in loud environments or over the phone
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves

Hearing Loss By Industry

In many industries, hearing loss is considered “part of the job,” but sacrificing your hearing will eventually diminish your overall job performance.

Fire And Law Enforcement

Police officers, firefighters, and other emergency response need to hear radio transmissions and communicate with their team to efficiently assist those in need.

Loud sirens and gunfire are potential sources for hearing damage. Any sound over 85 decibels can contribute to hearing loss, and fire engine sirens alone register at 120 decibels.


The higher the noise level, the more likely you are to develop NIHL, and the construction industry has one of the highest rates of hearing loss around. Construction machinery often produce sounds loud enough to cause damage after an hour of exposure.

Equipment decibel levels include:

  • Jackhammer: 100 dBA
  • Chainsaw: 110 dBA
  • Hammer drill: 115 dBA


A musician’s hearing is the basis of their career, and they rely on their ears to perform and record music. Some musicians resist earplugs because they believe it will interfere with their ability to work, so they forgo any protection.

Avoiding hearing protection puts musicians at a higher risk of developing NIHL, which can cut their careers short and cause conditions like tinnitus.

Protect Yourself

Taking proactive measures to protect hearing on the job will benefit individual workers and an industry’s overall performance. It’s important to identify sources of hazardous noise and implement training and protection requirements to keep employees safe.

How to reduce hazardous noise exposure:

  • Wear earplugs
  • Move machinery away from employees with extension cords
  • Create sound barriers to divert noise, like a wooden box over a generator
  • Invest in quieter equipment

Learn more about our services and how Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte can work with you to protect your hearing on the job. Call us at 704-412-7975 or contact us online.

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