Beware! These Jobs Could Cause Hearing Loss

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

Hearing loss may sneak up on you at work, especially if it's a gradual. You may not even realize that your occupation could affect your hearing. Discover 10 jobs where employees regularly experience noise levels of 85 decibels or higher. This level of noise can permanently destroy or lessen your sense of hearing if you're not careful.

1. Construction Work

You're around noisy drills, tools, air compressors and heavy equipment at a busy construction site. You probably expose yourself to noise levels of 100 to 120 decibels. You might suffer from hearing loss even though you wear ear protection all of the time.

2. Airline Grounds Crew

Jet engines can roar up to 130 decibels or higher. Maintenance crews, baggage handlers and ground control hear some of the highest noise levels in the world because they are constantly exposed to jet engine noise. Employees must wear certified hearing protection at these jobs, and just one momentary lapse can cause hearing loss.

3. Miners

Miners work in closed, confined spaces in addition to having noisy equipment. Loss of hearing is common among miners, which is why hearing protection is vitally important in this industry.

4. Subway Conductors

Subways do not seem as loud as airplanes. However, the constant screeching of a subway's brakes emits a high-pitched noise that can affect someone's hearing. Unfortunately, the engineer and conductors on a subway don't usually wear hearing protection because they need to hear people and any problems with the trains.

5. Call Center Workers

Ironically, call center workers expose themselves to high levels of noise due to the high frequency bursts they experience when talking on their headsets for long periods of time.

6. Nightclub Staff

DJs, security, event staff and servers constantly hear loud music at high volumes in nightclubs. Long-time exposure over a few nights a week for several hours a night could lead to hearing loss.

7. Loggers

The constant hum of chainsaws and heavy equipment used by loggers reaches 120 decibels or higher. Be careful as you chop down those trees.

8. Military Personnel

Military personnel hear gunshot, grenades, rocket launchers and explosions as part of their training. Others hear constant heavy equipment and vehicle noise. These combinations can lead to hearing loss over time.

9. Factory Workers

Factory workers deal with the constant thrum of machinery at their work stations. This enclosed environment may increase noise levels and exacerbate hearing difficulties if you don't wear the right hearing protection.

10. Working Around Traffic

Traffic controllers and toll booth operators stay around large amounts of traffic for most of their shift. Much like subway conductors, these people may not think about wearing ear protection because they have to listen for oncoming traffic.

What to Do

If you feel you have a disability due to your lack of hearing, talk to human resources for a remedy and see a doctor. At a job interview, you are not legally obligated to discuss a hearing disability, nor can an employer bring it up during an interview. You can ask for reasonable accommodations per the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hearing loss is preventable. If you work in these 10 jobs, take steps to prevent damage to your ears because permanent damage means that hearing is never coming back without some kind of physical assistance.

Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Keith S.
    Keith S.

    Wear protection

Jobs to Watch