Baby boomers may joke about the decibel level of those rock concerts they attended years ago, but the truth is, all those years of noise abuse are taking a toll on their hearing. Combine that with younger generations blasting iPods, and it’s no surprise that today’s employers are encountering rapidly rising rates of hearing loss in the workplace.
According to the Better Hearing Institute 16.3 million people with hearing loss were in the U.S. workforce in 2010 — meaning 60% of people with hearing loss are working. Further, data from the CDC’s National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health note that work itself is one of the major culprits behind hearing loss, with 4 million people exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each day. Hearing loss also is an important cause of workers’ compensation claims, and has been linked to major health cost drivers like heart disease, depression and diabetes.
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