Studies show dentists have twice the rate of hearing loss and tinnitus compared to the general population due to the loud drills and equipment that they use daily.
The noise from these can top 90 decibels (dB). According to the NHS, any sound over 85dB can be harmful to hearing.
Since 2008, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations have applied to all workplaces. These state that a daily noise exposure averaged over eight hours of 80dB requires employers to provide information, training and make hearing protection available. When that level reaches 85dB, employers are required to take measures to reduce noise exposure. That means wearing hearing protection and providing hearing monitoring services.
The damaging sound of music
Musicians are frequently exposed to sound pressure levels well above these figures, including those who play in orchestras, where the highest levels of noise are found in and around the brass section. With some high level court cases finding in favour of players whose hearing has been damaged while playing in concerts, orchestras worldwide have had to enhance their efforts to protect musicians’ hearing.
Hearing damage can be slow and easy to ignore. However, once damaged, your hearing cannot be restored. Using noise attenuating ear plugs is your best protection. At The Hearing Clinic we can arrange for custom-made ear plugs to be made. Because these are made to the unique contours of your ear, they offer the best fit.
If you’re worried that your employer isn’t protecting your hearing, you can monitor your own working environment by using a decibel meter – there are many available in app form that are free to download. Aim to have a regular hearing test – every 6 or 12 months too.
Even just getting to work can put your hearing at risk. If you travel on certain lines of the London Underground you’ll be familiar with the ear-splitting screech, technically known as ‘rail squeak’, that’s caused by metal wheels scraping against curves in the metal tracks.
The loudest of them all is the Northern Line where the noise between Euston and Camden Town on the City branch peaked at 107.7dB in one study – roughly equivalent to being within 1,000 feet of a jet aircraft at take-off. The Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green hit 102dB.
At The Hearing Clinic we supply a range of earplugs to suit your needs. Read more about the range here.