High levels of noise can wreak havoc on your hearing. Across all industries, loud noise is a problem, but railroad workers are among the working population highly susceptible to hearing loss.
Hearing loss affects not only your job performance but also your quality of life. Learning to cope with job-related injuries, like hearing loss, can help you take the steps to improve your life.
Recognize the signs of hearing loss
In the U.S., about 25% of all workers experience exposure to hazardous noise, with about 12% experiencing hearing loss. The first step to coping with hearing loss involves recognizing the symptoms. Be vigilant in what you pay attention to. For example, if you find it hard to follow a conversation or ask people to repeat themselves multiple times throughout a conversation, you may have hearing loss.
Often, tinnitus, or a ringing and buzzing in the ear, will accompany hearing loss, along with experiencing muffled sounds that make it challenging to understand music or speech.
Seek an evaluation of your hearing
If you catch yourself turning up the volume on your TV or struggling to hear your loved ones in a conversation, you may need a medical professional to examine you. Audiologists and ear, nose and throat specialists can conduct evaluations to determine your hearing loss and the extent of it.
Likewise, the professionals can help you determine what aids could help you with hearing loss. For instance, those with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids or learning new communication techniques.
After hearing loss, protect your remaining hearing through hearing protection, like earplugs or earmuffs. When you know that you must expose yourself to loud noises, ensure you have adequate ear protection to preserve what you have left. Additionally, attend regular checkups to monitor your hearing loss progress.