As someone recently diagnosed with hearing loss (age related, and nothing at all to do with the loud music I have subjected myself to over the years) I have begun to understand the impact that deafness and hearing loss has on people, their families and society as a whole.
In the workplace, we have the Noise at Work regulations which provide a framework that reduces the potential for noise-induced hearing loss. Despite this, some 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work. Those of us in the health and safety profession have a role to play in delivering the HSE/NHS England ‘Action plan on hearing loss’.
Hearing loss leads to social isolation, and can lead to people retiring early with a knock-on effect of lost productivity and unemployment.
Hearing loss can be tackled through a blended approach of bringing together ‘work’ and ‘life’. We need to promote healthy hearing and communication management and early detection helps this. More can be done to make people aware of the signs, to recognise if you or others are being affected by hearing loss.
Before my diagnosis I couldn’t hear what people were saying without putting my glasses on! That sounds ridiculous I know but I needed to see the shape of the words alongside the muffled sounds to communicate.
And as the 11 million people who live with hearing loss know, when it’s gone it’s gone, so why not start the conversation in your workplace?
Karen McDonnell, OSH policy adviser/Head of RoSPA Scotland
Posted: 1/8/2018 11:44:23 AM