Lesson 3: Protecting Hearing in the Workplace
People differ in their sensitivity to noise. As a general rule, noise is probably loud enough to damage hearing if it requires individuals to shout to be heard over it. If the noise hurts people ’ s ears, if the noise makes their ears ring, or if they have difficulty hearing for several hours after exposure, hearing damage may have already occurred.
These circumstances should be avoided in the workplace. When individuals are exposed to loud noise over a long period of time, symptoms of hearing loss will increase gradually. Over time the sounds that they hear will become distorted or muffled, and it may become more and more diffi cult for them to understand simple spoken words. Because hearing loss is often gradual, people may not be aware of it until it is detected with a hearing test.