Noise Induced Hearing Loss

This paper seeks to explain why it is difficult to determine exactly what caused a fifty year old construction worker (Mark Davidson) in my company (The daily constructors) lost hearing and what factors should be considered when deciding whether or not he should continue working. Hearing loss differs from other disabilities in that it is the least understood. It may occur over a long period of time or suddenly. This may happen as a result of damage in either the outer, middle or inner ear. Sometimes it occurs as a result of damage in the complex nerve path leading to the brain. There are two types of hearing loss which are congenital and acquired (Ross,2007). Congenital is where hearing loss is present moments after birth while acquired is that which occurs later on mostly as a result of environmental factors that may trigger it. In this essay we will focus more on the acquired type of hearing loss.

Some of the causes may be infection which sometimes may be as a result of swimming, the ear canal being blocked by impacted wax, a perforated eardrum due to infection or a loud explosion. Hearing loss may also be due to hereditary factors, old age, diseases, viruses, drugs, medications, head injuries, exposure to ototoxic chemicals and long term exposure to environmental noise which may be suffered by individuals living near airports and freeways.

Some common symptoms of hearing loss may be: hearing but not understanding whatever is heard which leads to a lot of confusion; finding it hard to hear and differentiate sound in groups of people which takes the attention of the individual since they put all of it in trying to figure out their surroundings (Lee, 2007). Thinking that individuals mumble words all the time and hence requesting individuals to repeat their statements very often which may lead to conflict where the other party is tired of repeating themselves since this behavior usually seems to be irritating to many; needing a source of entertainment such as the television to be louder than others around who need it to be in order to hear clearly which may also end up being too loud for those around the individual hence causing conflict; finding you misunderstand the topic severally in the same or different conversations which may lead to a low self esteem;

Difficulty in understanding people unless they are facing you which may be inconveniencing in a case where the other person is doing something else as they talk to you; avoiding social gatherings and occasions and even family gatherings since you have difficulty in hearing which may result to minimal opportunities since most connections come as a result of socialization; not hearing the phone or door bell ringing when you are not close to them where the person ringing the bell or calling may feel that you decided to ignore them intentionally; and finally head noises such as buzzing which may stop one from concentrating or performing a particular task.

Having being exposed to loud noises may lead to either temporary or permanent hearing loss which is also referred to as Noise induced Hearing loss (Lee, 2007). In single exposure to the relative loud noise, temporary hearing loss may occur as a result of an induced increase in the threshold of one's hearing, but when the exposure takes place severally in short spans it may lead to a permanent shift in the threshold. Any individual who goes through this may at time experience a painful ringing in the ears.

Noise induced hearing loss is mostly as a result of exposure to sound ranging at 3000, 4000, or 6000Hz. The levels of noise exposure by construction workers is not easy to determine due to variation that occurs daily but this does not change the fact that they are exposed to very high noises for a long time.

This high noise is due to the machinery used in construction which includes: large drills, drivers, air compressors, stone saws, compactors, sanders, grinders, disc cutters, hammer drills, chipping, chainsaws, needle guns, and pavement breakers. These tools not only affect those who use them but also those who are in close proximity with the very tools.

Hearing loss due to noise can be prevented but is not treatable once acquired; therefore the best measure would be to prevent the damage from occurring (Eileen, 2007). This may be through wearing of ear muffs and earplugs. Earplugs usually should fit in one's ear canal otherwise they will not block sound and are usually not seen easily. Similarly, earmuffs should fit the head without leaving any gaps. These noise protection devices should be provided by the employees in companies where hearing loss is likely to occur such as constructions.

Another hearing protection technique is referred to as the banded earplug where it is an earplug on a headband. All the above measures for ear protection are effective though is advisable that one should use that which they will feel comfortable wearing anytime they are exposed to noise regardless of where they are. Children below the age of twelve years should only wear earplugs when prescribed by an audiologist but they can put on ear muffs.

Other protective measures include noise control planning where the government may come up with policies that restrict noise in certain areas and where less noisy machines can be built such as the, air track drills, portable air compressors which are less noisy (Eileen, 2007). Having seen all these different factors that may cause loss of hearing, it is clear that any of these might be what caused Mike Davidson (the 50 year old to lose his hearing) especially the aging factor.

Before concluding construction is the only factor that may have resulted to his hearing disability, it is best to also consider other factors that lead to hearing loss. Construction is a field that needs one to be alert and have the hearing ability since it may be dangerous and one may need to be warned in case of any danger. Therefore for Davidson to continue working he may have to take a less dangerous position that the hearing ability is not very essential. The fact that he wants to continue working shows how dedicated he is with his job hence if he is to be discontinued from working, he should be compensated for his good work.

In conclusion clinical reports should be done in order for us to determine whether he lost his hearing as a result of the loud noise from the construction or not. If it is the construction that led to his hear loss, it should be found out if the company provided employees with protective devices from the loud noise or not. In this case the company should compensate him and pay his hospitals if it is found out that they did not provide the same devices for this decision will be fair to both the company and the individual.