Anyone working a noisy job knows that hearing loss is all too common in certain sectors. Those working in manufacturing, farming, law enforcement, or construction is more likely to suffer from noise induced hearing loss than someone working in an office. Recent data shows that hearing loss is increasing in the oil and gas drilling sector in the last few years.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
One of the most common causes of hearing loss is noise induced hearing loss, or damage to hearing caused by exposure to excessively loud noise. Hearing loss can be caused by loud recreational activities like attending sports events, going to music concerts, or watching fireworks. Some jobs can also cause noise induced hearing loss, as heavy equipment, machinery, or vehicles create excessively loud noise. These loud noises damage the delicate cells in the inner ear, and you’ll experience hearing loss, especially in high frequency sounds.
Hearing Loss in the Oil and Gas Drilling Sector
Drilling is a noisy business, and a recent study by WorkSafe BC in Canada has found that hearing loss is a big problem for anyone working in the oil and gas drilling sector. The study performed hearing tests on 1,000 workers in 2012, and then again in 2017. At the time of the first hearing test in 2012, around 33% of the workers had hearing loss. If that wasn’t bad enough, when they were retested in 2017, 45% of the workers were struggling to hear! Age was not a factor in their hearing loss, since most of the workers who participated in the study were under the age of 35.
Now only is hearing loss increasing in the oil and gas drilling sector, but other noisy industries are not seeing this trend. Researchers looked at other sectors in 2017, and found that the average rates of hearing loss in other noisy jobs was only around 13%.
Why Is Hearing Loss Increasing?
Researchers aren’t too sure why hearing loss is increasing in the oil and gas drilling sector, but think inadequate hearing protection is to blame. Workers aren’t using the right hearing protection, and it’s costing them their hearing.
Around 95% of the workers tested in 2017 said they usually wear earplugs. Foam earplugs are the most common, but don’t always do a good job of protecting hearing, especially when noises are extremely loud. “There are a number of reasons why workers may be diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss even though they are wearing some form of hearing protection,” said Sasha Brown from WorkSafeBC. “The ear plugs or ear muffs might be the wrong size, inserted or worn incorrectly, not worn for long enough, or they may not be providing enough protection for the duration and intensity of noise exposure.” To protect your hearing, you need to make sure you have the right earplugs.
If you work in the oil and gas drilling industry, or any other noisy sector, it’s time to talk about hearing protection. Foam earplugs are easy to wear, but to protect your hearing they need to be worn correctly. Make sure they’re not too big to fit snuggly in your ears, or so small that they’ll fall out. Even if you have foam earplugs that fit well and block sounds, they might not be providing enough protection to avoid hearing loss. Ear muffs or digital ear plugs are good alternatives that provide a strong seal around the ear, and further reduce sounds to ensure your ears stay safe.
Protect your hearing by putting on your ear protection before entering the noisy area, and keeping it on until you return to a quiet spot. When sounds are extremely loud, even a couple minutes without protection could damage your hearing.
My Hearing Centers
Do you work in the oil and gas drilling sector, or any other noisy job? If you’re facing noise induced hearing loss, visit us today at My Hearing Centers for a hearing assessment. We’ll determine your hearing range, and test for high frequency hearing loss. We know you don’t want a large device that will draw attention to your hearing loss, and we have a range of tiny devices that will sit within your ear or ear canal to give you the ultimate in discreet control and clear hearing.