Posted On: March 12, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Noisy Chicago Work Environments Can Cause Hearing Problems for Employees and May Increase Number of Illinois Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to a new study to be published in the journals Occupation Environmental Medicine, Accident Analysis and Prevention, and Traffic Injury Prevention, excessive noise at work increases the chances of both work accidents and motor vehicle crashes.

Researches reached their findings after examining a sample of 53,000 workers:

• Over 60% of the employees were exposed at work to noises equivalent in decibels to the degree of the sound a subway makes when it pulls up at a station—that’s 90 decibels daily.
• Exposure to this much noise on a daily basis can increase the chances that he or she might become involved in a work accidents.
• If hearing loss occurred, researchers found that workers had a 7% greater chance of getting hurt in an accident.
• The study suggests that excessive noise in the workplace is a problem that is often ignored.

According to
About 30 million people are exposed to dangerous levels of noise at work. Employees that work in environments where they are exposed to vibration, lead, carbon monoxide, solvents, and chemicals also appear to experience a greater likelihood of developing hearing loss.

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries and one that could be easily avoided. It is also a hazard that is often ignored by safety officials and employers.

Hearing loss often develops gradually, which may be one reason it is easy to ignore. Yet the damage is often irreversible and may affect not just the worker’s ability to do his or her job but it can severely compromise one’s quality of life and ability to do normal tasks. Other consequences may include:

• Social isolation
• Impaired driving ability
• Impaired ability to communicate
• Greater risk of work accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other kinds of accidents
• Tinnitus (constant hissing or ringing in the ears)
• Loss of income
• Medical and rehabilitation expenses

Noisy Workplaces Make Employees Deaf and Raise Risk of Accidents,, March 13, 2009

Your Job or Your Hearing? Hearing Loss in the Workplace,

Related Web Resources:
Hearing Loss,

Occupational Hearing Loss, CDC

Our Chicago workers' compensation lawyers represent injured workers throughout Illinois, including clients that were hurt in work accidents in DuPage County, Cook County, Will County, and Lake County.

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