Risks to hearing

Last reviewed on 24/01/2013 18:22

The health impacts from working in a noisy environment or with vibrating equipment are often linked closely together as often one contributes to the other.

Many people at work are exposed to levels of noise that put their hearing at risk. Because of this, the Noise at Work Regulations require employers to prevent or reduce the risk to their employees.

Noise created at work can cause permanent or temporary damage to your hearing, this appears as ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ear.

The signs, symptoms and effects of hearing damage can include: not hearing instructions or warning/alert systems at work, not participating in or keeping up with conversation, distress and sleep disturbance. The damage is caused by repeated exposure to high noise levels over months or years or sudden and extremely loud noises.

Many people at work are exposed to levels of hand–arm and whole-body vibration, which put their health at risk. Because of this, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations require employers to prevent or reduce the risk to their employees.

Vibration created at work can cause vibration-related diseases including vibration white finger (VWF) and damage and compression of the nerves in your hands.

The printed guidance chapter on Risks to Hearing and Touch will help you begin to manage these exposures at work. The guidance helps you find the answers to the questions:

  • What should I know?
  • Am I at risk?
  • What should I do?
  • What should I avoid?

Risks to your hearing and touch video

The Risks to hearing and touch video accompanying the chapter will help raise your awareness and you can use it with your staff to begin to involve them in finding suitable solutions.

 

You can download a transcript of the Risks to hearing and touch video.

For further information and support on the common Health Risks at Work, check out the Where to get Help page, or contact the following organisations:

  • Healthy Working Lives (Scotland): 0800 019 2211
  • Health for Work (England): 0800 0778844
  • Work Boost Wales: 0845 609 6006

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