Noise warnings are falling on deaf ears
According to the World Health Organisation, noise induced hearing loss
is now the number one hidden disability in North America.
In the UK this particular work-related illness
is an equally serious a health concern - striking silently but relentlessly in people who have been exposed to consistently high levels of noise
. Pub and bar staff who work in noisy establishments are particularly vulnerable to the risk of hearing damage.
"It is not uncommon for workers to suffer for several years before they realise that they are losing their hearing. The terrible thing about hearing loss is that it is permanent; once it is gone it cannot be restored," says Emma Costin
who is head of Simpson Millar's Industrial Disease team.
Despite campaigns to educate both employers and employees about the dangers of noise, hearing loss continues to affect British workers
"Some workplaces have grown complacent and seem to have forgotten the serious implications of failing to protect staff against the dangers of exposure to high levels of noise. Hearing protection equipment should be readily available and made mandatory for anyone exposed to noise levels which exceed or even come close to unsafe levels," said Emma.
Prevention is key
Employees' exposure to noise should be measured and monitored regularly.
All staff should be educated and reminded about the risks of noise exposure and how damage can be reduced.
Noise maps should be displayed in areas where noise level consistently exceed the safe limits (typically 85 dBA).
New and experienced staff alike should regularly be reminded and trained in hearing conservation.