Car mechanics are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged levels of industrial noise on a daily basis. Mechanics can acquire the hearing loss of a 60 year old by the time they are 25 if they don’t wear protection. That’s an alarming revelation!
The common power tools used by auto repairers are loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage. Here’s a list of some of them:
- shop vacs – 85dB
- pneumatic air saws and chisels 107dB
- impact wrenches-90dB
- grinders and orbital sanders-97dB
- electric drills-95dB
- running car engines-190dB
Occupational Health and Safety Standards recommend noise levels should be limited to 85dB for eight hours of exposure, yet most of the tools used by mechanics exceeds this. To preserve hearing, earmuffs or ear plugs should be worn at work. Australian states have legislation on acceptable noise levels in the workplace.
Workers with hearing loss, including mechanics, are at higher risk of safety incidents in the workplace due to not being able to hear alarms, faulty tools or accident warnings from other workers.
Once we have noise induced hearing loss, it cannot be reversed. The damage to the nerve hair cells and to the cochlear is permanent. The good news is it is preventable if safety measures are employed early on.
If you can’t hear high pitched sounds, have a hard time hearing conversation in noisy places or people’s speech sounds sound distorted or far away then it’s time to get a hearing health check. Noise induce hearing loss may have been a gradual development or a sudden loss due to one loud noise exposure. When we are working in a noisy environment, we may not notice that we are losing our hearing. This explains why we leave it too late to stop it in its tracks.
If you are a small business mechanic shop it can be hard to implement safer noise levels in the workshop space. You can however supply earplugs and earmuffs, buy quieter tools and if possible, isolate the noisy jobs into a specific enclosure. Sending your mechanics and apprentices for yearly hearing health check ups is good practice and will encourage them to take early intervention.
Hearing aids can help with restoring some of our hearing, but it is not the whole solution. With hearing aid fitting, it is not a one size fits all. There are many types of hearing aids available that address the different types of hearing loss, lifestyle needs and budget. The most important thing is to see an audiologist for an auditory check first so your sound detection can be measured and the right treatment plan for you is implemented.
The Hearing Cub
The Hearing Club is a local and independent hearing service provider. Our aim is to assist the hearing impaired to achieve the greatest enjoyment from life.
If you are a mechanic and are noticing a loss in your hearing, we can conduct an audiometry to determine your hearing levels and whether you need hearing aids and a treatment plan. We can also provide yearly reviews for you and your employees so that early intervention can be implemented.
To make an appointment with one of our professional staff please call 1800 627 728. To find a clinic near you, contact us online today.