The construction industry is infamous for its loud machinery and rowdy building processes. And for most people, this constant stream of awful noises presents nothing more than a nuisance. However, for construction workers, it can become a source of many different health issues. In this article, we will name some of those issues and offer several methods that can prevent them.
Noise-Induced Health Issues
Construction is among the most dangerous industries out there, and noise is one of the reasons why that is so. Long-term exposure to loud sounds can lead to countless health issues, some of which are quite serious. One of the most severe noise-induced problems is partial or total hearing loss.
Humans have very delicate hearing organs, which is why they are hidden deep inside the inner ear. However, prolonged exposure to construction sounds can do harm to this part of the ear, thus damaging one’s ability to process sounds.
Another issue related to inner ear damage is the loss of balance. The vestibular system is a group of organs in the inner ear that are responsible for equilibrium. So, if these organs get damaged, a person might become dizzy and unstable. And if such an injury occurs during working hours, it might even put the life of an afflicted worker in danger.
Other mental and physical health issues related to noise pollution include:
● Increased stress sensitivity
● Inability to concentrate
● Anxiety and depression
● Sleep disturbance
● Tinnitus (ringing or other noises in one or both ears)
● High blood pressure and viscosity
● Different metabolic disorders
Methods of Prevention
People often use earplugs for protection against loud noises, and it makes sense. After all, these small devices block the ear canal, thus muffling or even silencing noises. Therefore, the chances of the inner ear suffering through any sort of trauma become minimal. With these facts in mind, it’s no wonder earplugs are among the everyday staples for construction workers.
However, it might not be a good idea to buy the first pair of earplugs you run into. In fact, most earplugs on the market aren’t suitable for construction sites. Therefore, you will have to do your research and find a pair that is specifically designed for construction work. Generally speaking, they should be reusable, comfortable, and hypoallergenic. In addition, construction-grade earplugs need to keep speech audible and prevent the feeling of isolation.
However, even the best earplugs out there will have some drawbacks. First of all, they will block out important audio signals and the voices of coworkers. This, in turn, might put the life of a person wearing them in danger, since they won’t be able to hear any hazard warnings. Furthermore, earplugs can lead to nasty ear infections after hours of use, especially if not handled properly.
Another crucial piece of protection equipment that we need to include on this list is earmuffs. This simple gadget offers all of the benefits of earplugs without some of the drawbacks. Namely, it blocks outside sounds without entering the ear canal and potentially causing infection. Furthermore, unlike earplugs, earmuffs are easy to remove and put back on. Therefore, they allow workers much more freedom while still protecting them from noise pollution.
It’s important, however, to distinguish between the two types of noise-cancelling earmuffs on the market. Regular earmuffs rely on ordinary muffling technology to block out any outside sound, no matter the frequency.