World Hearing Day coincides with study revealing chemicals induce deafness
3 March is World Hearing Day. This is an annual awareness-raising initiative organised by the World Health Organisation. This year’s theme draws attention to the anticipated rise in the number of people with hearing loss across the world and is called ‘Hear the future… and prepare for it.’ WHO wants to encourage preventative initiatives so that the estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population suffering from hearing loss does not rise. 360 million people across the world live with a disabling form of deafness. This is expected to rise, especially amongst young people who are unaware of the damage that can be caused by listening to personal devices.
Chemical-induced hearing loss
A recent study has revealed that workers who are exposed to noise at the same time as certain chemicals are at risk of greater hearing loss than those exposed to noise alone. The study questioned shipyard workers to determine the effect of lead, cadmium, arsenic, toluene, and xylene exposure on hearing compared with noise exposures alone. Hearing changes in the period 2004 to 2015 were significantly worse for the groups exposed to high levels of noise and metals/solvents compared with the low exposure group. The authors concluded that hearing conservation programmes should take into consideration combined exposures to metals, solvents and noise, instead of noise alone.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most prevalent occupational illnesses, with a higher incidence in the heavy industry. The shipyard industry is one of the most affected by NIHL, along with construction, steel making and road maintenance.
Hearing Loss Facts
• An estimated 1 billion young people (12-35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds
• Global costs – $750 billion is the overall cost of not addressing hearing loss globally – measured in terms of health, education support, loss of productivity and societal costs
• Nearly one in three people over 65 suffers from disabling hearing loss – causing loneliness and isolation
Are you suffering from work-related hearing loss?
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) also known as Industrial Hearing Loss, is a work related condition that is common in industries where excessive noise is prevalent. The noise levels in these workplaces can cause a permanent hearing impairment which can lead to many issues for the sufferer such as problems with conversations and other sound related activities. Noise induced hearing loss often appears years, if not decades later from the original exposure meaning many people do not identify their work as the cause. The condition is acquired through exposure to excessive noise levels which damages the cells inside the inner ear leading to ringing, buzzing or muffling in the sufferers ears.
Symptoms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss
There are many different types of noise induced hearing loss symptoms which can vary in severity, this all depends on past factors such as the exposure to noise and the type of protection provided. Before you start to pursue a hearing loss claim we have generated a list of common questions we use to identify your symptoms below:
• Do your family complain that you talk loudly?
• Do you have the television on at its full volume?
• Do you have trouble hearing the telephone when it rings?
• Do you have problems hearing other people speak because of background noises?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, it is likely that you do have an issue with your hearing. You may want to get in contact with your GP to diagnose the noise damage.