If you're concerned about the potential risks to your hearing in your line of work, take the necessary steps to safeguard it.

Surprising Professions That Could Be Damaging Your Hearing

07/16/2023 | Hearing Protection, Patient Resources

Did you know that your job can be one of the biggest contributors to hearing loss? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work every year in the United States. When you think about professions that are particularly noisy, your mind might go straight to musicians or construction workers. But you might be surprised to learn that several other professions can contribute to noise-related hearing loss.

The majority of us will find ourselves in loud situations from time to time, but if exposure to loud noises is the norm during your workday, you’ll want to take precautions to protect your hearing. Being exposed to noises above 85 decibels (dB) for extended periods of time can jeopardize your hearing health. And while there are a lot of great hearing aid devices on the market today, prevention is essential for preserving your hearing for years to come. Here is a short list of professions that can be hard on your hearing:

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Musician

This one might seem obvious, since many performers have begun speaking out in recent years about their hearing loss. Musicians like Chris Martin and Eric Clapton have been vocal about their struggles with hearing loss as a result of their successful music careers.

Musicians, DJs, and anyone who works in the music industry are exposed to loud noises when they perform, practice, and produce music. If you work in the music industry or in a nightlife environment where you’re exposed to loud music regularly, it’s important to protect your hearing as much as you can.

There are several musician-specific options for hearing protection available today.

Construction Worker

From loud heavy machinery to passing traffic noise, construction workers are exposed to all kinds of excessive noise and are at a very high risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Many people who have worked in construction or land development for years suffer from hearing loss. Construction-specific earmuffs or earplugs that are designed to protect against high decibels should always be worn on the job in order to prevent hearing loss.

Flight Attendant and Pilot

Flight attendants and pilots have the advantage of traveling the world and seeing new sights. But these exciting aviation professions also come with exposure to fluctuations in cabin air pressure, loud engine noises, and high-altitude conditions.

Members of flight crews experience up to 130 decibels of noise during takeoff. While it might not be possible to use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs all the time, using hearing protection as much as possible will lessen the risk of auditory damage while you’re in flight.

Fitness Instructor

Fitness classes are often accompanied by loud, motivating music that keeps the energy up. But the high volume can lead to hearing damage for fitness instructors—especially since they’re often leading multiple classes each day.

Fitness instructors should take precautions to protect their hearing with custom-fit earplugs during classes. And if you’re someone who goes to daily spin classes where the music is blaring, you might want to consider using hearing protection as well.

An occasional class likely won’t be detrimental to your hearing health, but prolonged exposure could be damaging.

Landscaper

Landscapers regularly use lawnmowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, and other loud tools for long periods of time. To prevent hearing loss, it’s important to wear personal protective equipment.

Crews should try to isolate from the loud equipment when possible and switch to quieter tools if they’re available. And even if you don’t work in landscaping, you should always use hearing protection when doing yard work and using loud tools.

Teacher

This one might be a bit shocking. Teaching is an amazing profession—shaping young minds and educating future generations is rewarding and absolutely essential.

But if you’ve spent any time around children, you know that they can be loud! Classroom and recess noise can lead to hearing loss over time. And if you’re a music or physical education teacher, your risk of hearing loss is even higher.

Teachers should consider wearing custom-fitted earplugs that will allow them to hear what they need to hear while blocking out the harmful noises.

Remember, your hearing is a precious asset that deserves protection, regardless of your profession. If you’re concerned about the potential risks to your hearing in your line of work, take the necessary steps to safeguard it.

Visit our custom hearing protection page for more information on how you can find the perfect hearing protection solution for your specific profession.

Don’t wait until it’s too late—prioritize your hearing health today and enjoy a future filled with clear and vibrant sound.

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Erika Best-Kay, Au.D., CH-TM

Dr. Best-Kay is a certified tinnitus management specialist that is trusted by hundreds of local patients, families, and physicians. Growing up in Miami, FL, Dr. Best-Kay spent much of her childhood traveling to South America to visit her family in Uruguay, becoming fluent in Spanish during the process. Following school, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Florida International University where she discovered her love for audiology through speech pathology. She knew instantly that she had found her passion and relocated to New Orleans where she received her Doctorate of Audiology from Louisiana State University. With experience of working with both hearing aid manufacturers, where she was recognized as the technology specialist for the Northwest region, and private practice hearing care practices working hands-on with patients, she has a unique set of skills that sees her recognized as a highly trusted hearing care expert nationally. In 2021, she was certified in tinnitus management and now spends her days helping local people to achieve better hearing and supporting fellow hearing care professionals with complex and challenging hearing healthcare cases. Tinnitus is a passion and purpose for Dr. Best-Kay and knowing that many people are suffering with tinnitus and not getting the correct treatment, or often thinking there are no treatments, is what inspires Dr. Best-Kay to make important changes and raise awareness. A personal success story was when she treated a patient who had suffered badly with tinnitus for over ten years and hadn’t found a treatment that had worked. He came to Dr. Best-Kay looking for a solution and she was able to give him relief after such a long time. It was life-changing for him and his family. When not helping people to hear, Dr. Best-Kay enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She particularly enjoys fishing, camping, being out in the sun, and keeping up with the most interesting TV shows and movies.

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