A report from the Centers for Disease Control reveals that loss of hearing is among the most common workplace illnesses in California and throughout the nation. More than 20 million workers in the United States face noise levels at work that are loud enough to damage their hearing.

The problem with workplace hearing loss is that most people are unaware of the problem until it is too late. It is even more challenging for these injured individuals to know if the problem is progressing because they no longer have a reference point for “normal” hearing. Many workers who suffer this injury are unaware that they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Some occupations have proven to pose a bit more of a threat of hearing loss than others. A flight crew member can experience noise exceeding 130 decibels. Individuals exposed to noise over 100 decibels for 15 minutes or more risk permanent damage to their ears.

The heavy machinery associated with farming also places farmworkers in the high-risk group for hearing loss. Environmental noises can affect the hearing of farmworkers also. To illustrate this point, the squeal of a single pig can reach well over 100 decibels.

Manufacturers and factory workers must also deal with machinery that threatens the health of their ears. Industrial machinery commonly emits noises in the 115-decibel range. This risk is shared with workers in the construction industry.

Other workers who must endure high noise levels while at work include ambulance drivers, physical education teachers, bartenders and professional athletes.

Occupational hearing loss is a common workplace hazard that can negatively affect the ability of someone to earn a living as well as his or her quality of life. Individuals with damaged ears due to a workplace injury may benefit from the guidance they can receive from a workers’ compensation attorney.