The effect of loud noises on our hearing is often overlooked.
Many of us enjoy attending loud events such as a football match, a music concert or a bar with music playing. For the majority of us, this is only once in a while, so it isn’t an issue.
However, as arborists, we are surrounded by noise. As such, we need to be aware of Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
What is NIHL?
To understand Noise Induced Hearing Loss, you should first learn about the stereocilia cells in your ear. These hair-like cells receive sounds and send electrical signals to our brains where they are interpreted into a language we can understand. However, overload these cells with loud noises constantly and we risk damaging them, preventing the signals from reaching the brain intact. This is the basis for Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
What are the signs?
The onset of NIHL can be very gradual and very difficult to notice. Over time you may notice sounds becoming muffled or find it difficult to understand others when they speak to you. Unfortunately, once this begins it is impossible to reverse. Because of this, prevention is essential.
How can I prevent it?
We are arborists. As such, we do need to be around loud noises for a significant portion of the day. However, there are things we can do to prevent damage being done to ourselves and others.
- Make sure you wear ear defenders whenever you are using a loud piece of equipment.
- Let others know when you are about to use loud equipment so they can take the appropriate measures.
- Consider wearing ear plugs when you are not personally using equipment for added protection.
- Remove yourself from the work site when you are on your break.
- Regularly get your hearing tested to make sure damage is not being done.
Once the damage is done, it cannot be undone. Take measures. Keep safe.