Mining and Hearing Impairment
Every occupation comes with risks as well as its benefits. In the Intermountain West, mining is a significant industry. Wyoming is the nation’s largest producer of coal. Uranium, copper and iron are all mined. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of working in a noisy workplace is a very serious health matter: hearing loss.
Did you know that one of the most common injuries for workers in the U.S. is hearing loss? Occupational noise can have a grave impact on your hearing if you work in an environment that is consistently loud or even if you are occasionally exposed to very loud sounds.
How Hearing Is Affected
If you work in the mining industry, you should be aware that you work in an occupation that leads to a high rate of hearing loss overall. Regular exposure to noise on the job is actually one of the top reasons that workers lose hearing, and mining exposes workers to a cacophony.
Although industry and government regulations have been put in place in an attempt to combat the issue, mining by its very nature is simply loud. The occupation involves very noisy equipment, such as crushers and drills. Being around loud equipment all day often has an adverse effect on the hearing of industry workers.
Miners may experience a few different kinds of hearing impairment. They could lose their capacity to hear high frequency sounds. Rupturing an eardrum is a very real possibility, and people who experience this type of resultant hearing loss may ultimately have trouble with speech.
Miners need to be made aware of how much the job may affect their hearing, so they can take precautionary steps. Workers should always wear the right kind of protective gear when in the vicinity of noisy equipment.
Miners should undergo regular hearing exams – these tests are crucial, because hearing loss may indicate that a worker is not being adequately protected from loud equipment sounds while on the job. By adhering to the OSHA guidelines on industry-related noise, employers and workers can prevent injuries due to the noise level on the job.
Countless individuals have had long, rewarding careers in mining. The fact that hearing loss can be such a problem for workers doesn’t mean that people should have to accept untreated hearing loss. However, it does mean that industry workers should take every precaution they can to safeguard their hearing, including scheduling hearing tests on a regular basis, and utilizing hearing protection.
Intermountain Audiology has clinics in Utah, Wyoming and Nevada, some of the top mining states in the country. Contact us to schedule your free hearing assessment.