UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF OCCUPATIONAL HEARING LOSS
Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the most commonly reported occupational disease. In the EU approximately 52 million people report having hearing loss2. Despite being avoidablein most cases, NIHL is expected to become even more widespread in decades to come, with 1.1 billion young people at risk globally.
This whitepaper provides insight into the importance of understanding the causes of occupational NIHL and the consequences associated with it – to both individual workers and businesses. It starts by defining noise, reviewing the way in which sound is measured, and gives some examples of the most common industrial applications where NIHL can occur.
The paper outlines the health and safety risks associated with not wearing adequate hearing protection or not fitting it correctly and provides an overview of the physical effects as well as the wider and long-term psychological effects, which are often overlooked. The paper also discusses the challenges faced by health and safety professionals and and NIHL's impact on business - in the EU, the cost of not treating hearing loss is around 178 billion euros every year.