If you have ever attended a preschool birthday party at a kid-themed pizza restaurant in Oklahoma, you know the meaning of noise. There may have been several parties going on at once, and as the children consumed more sugar, the decibels rose. With the excitement of children's voices, the volume of the videos and music, and the relentless clamor of the arcade games, it is no surprise if you went home with a headache wondering how anyone could work in such an environment.
Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that about 41 million people work in environments where high levels of noise are an issue. If you are among that 25 percent of workers in the country, you may have more than your hearing at risk.
Are you at risk?
While you endured the insanity of the birthday party, you may have felt overcome by the desire to escape the noise. In fact, you may have joked that your blood pressure was rising. However, it is no joke. Research is suggesting that high levels of noise do cause a rise in blood pressure. Regular health screenings across various industries in the country show that workers exposed to occupational noise not only have hearing loss, but they tend to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
While only 12 percent of workers had significant hearing loss when exposed to occupational noise, twice as many suffered from high blood pressure. You might be among those if you work in any of the industries most affected by dangerous levels of noise, including these:
- The mining industry has the highest prevalence for workplace noise at 61 percent.
- Construction workers deal with hazardous levels of noise 51 percent of the time.
- Employees in the manufacturing trade deal with dangerous noise 47 percent more than other industries.
While safety advocates have been urging these industries and others to monitor and reduce the levels of noise for employees, these new findings may add some kick to their efforts. Associating life-threatening health conditions with noise exposure may prompt your employer to replace loud equipment or improve methods of protecting you from exposure.
Additionally, you do have the protection of workers' compensation if you should suffer an illness or injury related to your job. While the process of claiming these benefits can be frustrating and complex, the assistance of an attorney can benefit you in many ways.