While many Pennsylvania workers know that excessive exposure to loud noise in the workplace can cause hearing loss, the effects of a noisy workplace can extend far beyond a worker’s ears. One study produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a strong link between noisy, loud workplaces and high blood pressure and high cholesterol among frequently exposed workers. In some cases, the noisy workplaces themselves were found to be responsible for these conditions, which pose a major risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading killer of people across the United States.
Approximately 25 percent of the nation’s workforce, or 41 million people, report that they are regularly exposed to loud sounds and noises on the job. Besides hearing loss and damage, there are other well-known risks to workplace noise exposure, including sleep problems, migraine headaches and reductions in cognitive function. Safety equipment and precautions to protect hearing and reduce loud noises can be important not only for traditional ear protection but also to help avoid the development of occupational disease.
The CDC researchers found that around 12 percent of the workers who were regularly exposed to noisy workplaces had some type of hearing problems. Another 24 percent had high blood pressure while 28 percent reported high cholesterol. Through further examination, they noted that workplace noise was the cause of 58 percent of the hearing damage cases, 14 percent of the cases of high blood pressure and 9 percent of the high cholesterol cases.
Loud noise is only one of the risks faced by workers on the job. From toxic exposure to chemicals to dangerous equipment and hard physical labor, workplace illness or long-term occupational disease can keep workers out of the job and in the doctor’s office or hospital. A workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers pursue compensation for their damages.