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Author: admin | 13.04.2014 | Category: Tinnitus Causes And Treatments

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When considering construction worker injuries many people think of examples of injuries caused by physical accidents from impacts such as a fall from a ladder or scaffolding. Construction workers are often exposed to loud noises which make them especially susceptible to the loss of hearing.
Hazardous noise is defined as noise which exceeds 90bD (decibels) for an extended period of time.
Compared to a 9 percent risk factor for no noise exposure, and a 30 percent risk in manufacturing, construction, along with mining, remain the top two high-risk professions in industry. The most common cause of hearing loss on a job site is intuitive: a lack of use of protective hearing equipment, which is required by law.
First, the employer may not make them aware of the risks of working in an environment with hazardous noise and may not provide them with appropriate hearing protection. Lack of equipment to control noise can be a contributing factor to hearing loss as can failing to take breaks when working in an area containing hazardous noise.
Hearing loss typically occurs in areas where noise levels exceed 90bD – the established noise level that is deemed “hazardous” to workers’ hearing.
Hearing loss usually does not occur upon a single overexposure, although if the noise is loud enough, it may permanently or temporarily cause hearing loss.
Workers who start young, and enjoy a lifetime of work in construction, may be at an increased risk for hearing loss, particularly if their exposure levels exceeded the maximum threshold during most workdays. Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss which occurs because of some type of damage to the ear. With repeated overexposure to hazardous noise, construction workers are most likely to be exposed to sensorineural hearing loss at some point during their lives. Severe hearing loss occurs when some loud sounds are inaudible and communication is impossible or extremely difficult without a hearing aid. Working in environments where construction is going on represent an inherent danger, because the noise level often exceeds the 100dB level.
Tinnitus is just one symptom that results from the damage and destruction of those hair cells. In addition to hearing loss, workers may experience nervousness, a reduced ability to concentrate, a reduction in the quality of sleep, an inability to get to sleep in a timely or efficient manner, reduced productivity, and an increased risk of work-related accidents. Workers who lose their hearing are also more susceptible to feeling isolated and may have trouble communicating with co-workers.
Passive protective devices or uniform-attenuating protectors use mechanical blocks or means to filter sounds to provide equal attenuation across the audible frequency range. The sounds heard with passive protection in place are more natural, clearer and less distorted than protection provided by low-quality alternative or conventional hearing protectors. Some workers may have the tendency to only wear hearing protection when they are currently working, but may not wear the protection when they have finished the job but are still on the construction site in an area where hazardous noise exists. Active hearing protection or “level dependent” hearing protectors block sound and also use electronic means to transmit low-level sounds through the hearing protector. Electronic devices also allow users control over the attenuation of hazardous noise, essentially allowing customization of hearing.
Another benefit of these devices is that special FM or infrared (wireless) capabilities can be integrated into the device to provide one or two-way communication. Again, for these devices to work, they must be properly fitted and worn during times when hazardous noise threatens the individual.
Periodic replacement and maintenance is necessary with these types of ear protectors, which makes them a more expensive option. Cochlear implants have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children and adults who are deaf or severely hard-of-hearing.
The implant itself consists of a microphone, which is capable of picking up sounds from the environment. Instead, they capture the sounds of the environment and convert them into electrical signals. If you feel that the risks that you’re being asked to take are unreasonable, you’ve suffered hearing damage on the job, or if  you’ve been injured in some other way on a construction site, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney. 1 in 5 Americans ages 12 and older experiences hearing loss severe enough to hinder communication.

Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older Americans after hypertension and arthritis. About 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises at work or in leisure activities.
Tinnitus is currently the #1 service-connected disability for veterans from all periods of service. When we become aware of a sound in our environment, it is the result of a remarkable sequence of events. The most susceptible and common parts to break down are the microscopic stereocilia, the thousands of tiny hair cells that detect and send sound impulses to the brain.
When they become injured, diseased, or die naturally, the result is sensorineural hearing loss.
When the microscopic hair cells in your cochlea are damaged, they will not send complete signals to your brain, causing you to be unable to understand the consonants within words.
Wearing only one device when you need two is like asking your eye doctor to correct your vision by only wearing a lens in one side of your glasses when both eyes have vision problems: no matter how different they may be in loss. Research suggests that having untreated hearing loss causes the hearing nerve to potentially lose more hearing or cause your hearing to become more distorted, something that can never be corrected.
Keeping sound flowing to your brain through the auditory nerve will lead to better overall understanding in the long run and can prevent further hearing loss complications.
However, there are many other types of injuries that occur in addition to those that occur from strictly physical accidents. There is a 60 percent chance of construction workers losing their hearing if they are exposed to hazardous noise throughout their career. There may be one of two common reasons why construction workers do not use hearing equipment. When hearing protection does not prevent hazardous noise from reaching the ear, or fails to do so effectively, the worker may be unknowingly exposed to excessive noise. Finally, a lack of training about how to wear hearing protection can contribute to the risk of overexposure and hearing loss. Job sites where workers are exposed to, or must use or interact with, heavy machinery, jackhammers, sledgehammers, nail and bolt drivers, electrical saws, and constant noise from demolition pose the most serious risk. Permanent hearing loss occurs over time when repeated overexposure is experienced by the worker. This typically occurs because of an obstruction like earwax or a tumor is blocking sound from getting to the ear.
Damage may occur to the inner ear or the nerves that are responsible for hearing (auditory nerves).
Mild hearing loss is usually associated with the inability to hear soft sounds or difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments.
Workers who are continually exposed to loud noises benefit the most from this type of hearing protection.
As workers get hearing protection without distortion or muffling, they feel less isolated on the job site. Workers must wear their passive hearing protection until they are clear of hazardous noise areas. Anything that exceeds that level is automatically reduced, thus preserving the wearer’s hearing through limiting and preventing overexposure.
These provide the best hearing protection in environments where hazardous noise occurs, but where communication is still important, even critical. This allows workers to communicate with each other without risking overexposure to hazardous noise levels in situations where they are spaced apart and cannot effectively communicate by other means.
There is no official cure for hearing loss, but there are some treatments which may improve hearing or augment it. As of December 2012, there have been roughly 324,000 individuals worldwide who have had the procedure and received implants.
Instead, it gives deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals useful representations of sounds in the environment.
The technology requires that the patients still have basic functional hearing and that the ear drum assembly, inner, middle, and outer ear are structurally intact.
Outer Ear: Sound travels through the pinna (external ear) and down the ear canal, striking the eardrum and causing it to vibrate.

Middle Ear: Vibrations from the eardrum cause the ossicles to vibrate (the three smallest bones in the human body) which, in turn, creates movement of the tiny hair cells (stereocilia) in the inner ear.
Inner Ear:  The movement of the hair cells sends electrical impulses through the auditory nerve to the hearing center of the brain, which translates them to sounds the brain can recognize. Hearing loss can be divided into two main categories: Conductive hearing loss (CHL) occurs because of a mechanical problem in the outer or middle ear.
Additionally, our hearing ability gets worse at the age of from 30 to 40 and can be led to hearing loss at the age of 80. Such noises from workplace, music, concert, MP3, vehicles, and so on can increase the risk of being hearing-impaired. To be specific, some certain antibiotics and cancer drugs as well as some other drugs such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and acetaminophen lead to some side effects that are the main reason for hearing loss. Workers who reach the age of 50, and have been working in construction for at least several years prior, are the most likely to experience hearing loss.
This is typically not associated with damage caused by overexposure to noise or sound on a construction site, but it must be ruled out by a physician. Moderate hearing loss occurs when workers are unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds and have considerable difficulty understanding speech, especially background noises.
If possible, the hearing protection device should be custom-fitted for the individual, and considerable time should be spent explaining the importance of always wearing hearing protection.
Loud noises, even sudden loud noises, are reduced to comfortable levels, while low dB noises are not muted or attenuated.
Because it’s electronic, it should be inspected prior to each use to make sure that the power is on, or that the device is properly charged and functioning normally. While cochlear implants are an available technology, they are still relatively expensive and full hearing restoration is not guaranteed. For these individuals, they must relearn how to hear after the procedure and full hearing restoration is never guaranteed. A transmitter receives signals from the speech processor and then converts them into electrical impulses.
The labyrinth system of the ear must also be normal or at least not so abnormal that hearing becomes physically impossible. The three tiny bones of the ear (ossicles) may not conduct sound properly, or the eardrum may not vibrate in response to sound. Hearing loss can grow as the newborn is premature or from such other causes as trauma during birth leading to the infant getting inadequate oxygen.
The result is that the worker can carry on a conversation with another co-worker without the need for special communication equipment and without removing the protective gear, risking overexposure. A second option is a hearing aid, which does not restore lost hearing, but rather amplifies sound, making hearing easier.
Patients must learn to associate the signal provided by an implant with sounds they remember. Finally, an electrode array collects and transmits the impulses from the stimulator to various regions of the auditory nerve.
Tom focuses his practice on product liability cases, including defective machinery, work equipment, automotive parts, medical drugs, and chemicals. Fluid in the middle ear can cause this type of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) results when there is a problem with the inner ear. It most often occurs when the tiny hair cells (nerve endings) that transmit sound through the ear are injured, diseased, do not function properly, or have prematurely died. This type of hearing loss is sometimes called "nerve damage," although this is not accurate. CHL is often reversible. People who have both forms of hearing loss are said to have mixed hearing loss. Causes Ear infections are the most common cause of temporary hearing loss in children.
Wax softeners (like Cerumenex) may be needed if the wax is hard and stuck in the ear. Take care when removing foreign bodies.

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