Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries afflicting Americans. Yet, it is also often preventable. When you work in the service sector, you may face an elevated risk of suffering occupational hearing loss, which has the potential to impact you for the rest of your life.
According to Occupational Health & Safety, recent research is shining a spotlight on just how much of a hazard work-related noise is for you and others in the service sector. Service sector jobs include those in entertainment, recreation, security, surveillance, food service, landscaping, educational training and machinery repair, among others.
By the numbers
The prevalence of occupational hearing loss within the services sector is about 17%. However, many who work in sub-segments of the services industry face much higher, or between 10% and 30% higher, risks. You face an especially high risk of exposure to hazardous levels of noise if you work in urban planning or development, or if you work routinely with waste combustors and incinerators.
Additional at-risk professions
Some of the professions that expose their workers to high levels of hazardous noise are surprising. Many consider working in an elementary or secondary school to be a low-risk occupation in terms of the potential for hearing loss. Yet, research shows that these environments are more dangerous than many who work in these settings believe.
The National Institute for Safety and Health recommends that American employers follow a hierarchy of controls to minimize hearing loss risks. They may also need to establish hearing conservation programs in their efforts to protect workers.