The Dangers of Noise in the Workplace

Noise in the workplace is a common hazard—one that is often overlooked by employees. In fact, many people don’t realize that their everyday activities may put them at risk for irreversible, noise-induced hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss can lead to communication problems, both at home and at work. Failure to hear your supervisor’s instructions can affect your productivity. And failure to hear warning sounds, like work alarms or car horns, could put you in a dangerous situation.

Hearing loss often happens gradually and has a tendency to go unnoticed for too long. Some signs your hearing may be at risk in the workplace include:

  • Difficulty hearing someone as little as three feet away from you
  • Ringing in your ears, or tinnitus, during or after your shift

Clues you may already be experiencing hearing loss include:

  • Increasing television or radio volumes to the point where people complain
  • Inability to hear high-pitched sounds and letters like F, S, T, K and C

Notify your supervisor if you notice unaddressed noise hazards in your workplace. You may want to also consider wearing ear protection, which experts recommend when regularly exposed to 85 decibels of noise. To put that number in perspective, that is less than the noise output from average traffic and most power tools.

Drinking Responsibly During Holiday Parties

The holidays are a time to celebrate with family, friends and colleagues. For this reason, some employers host holiday parties.

If you’ll be celebrating the season with alcohol, stay safe and drink responsibly while keeping these tips in mind:

  • Know your limit and avoid overindulging.
  • Eat food while you drink. This practice helps to slow the absorption of alcohol.
  • Drink slowly and only with people you know. Never accept a drink from a stranger.
  • Plan ahead and know how you’re getting home. Never drink and drive. Consider carpooling with a designated driver or call a taxi when the party is over.
  • As a general rule, avoid drinking if you take prescription medication. Check with your doctor to learn how any of your medications interact with alcohol.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s a good idea to drink a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage you consume.
  • Avoid drinking more than one drink per hour.
  • Stop drinking if you begin to feel drunk.
  • Never leave your drink unattended.

Try to keep an eye on co-workers during holiday parties as well. If you think they may have been overserved, help them arrange for a safe ride home.

Don't be a Statistic this Holiday Season

Over 3 million deaths occur worldwide every year due to harmful use of alcohol. This represents nearly 6% of all deaths.

Exposure to loud noise can kill the nerve endings in the ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss.

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