Sound advice every tradie needs to hear

It may be one of our most important senses, but when it comes to the job site, the message of hearing protection often falls on deaf ears.

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

It may be one of our most vital primary senses, but when it comes to the job site, the importance of protecting our hearing often falls on deaf ears.

Hearing is a requirement for the most minor aspects of everyday life. It is an essential tool for communicating and navigating the environment around us.

But it’s also one of the easiest senses to damage, leading to non-age-related sensory loss, significantly reducing quality of life and the ability to work.

So why don’t Aussie tradies hear these alarm bells when it comes to the importance of hearing protection in noisy working environments?

One of the reasons many construction workers don’t listen up is because hearing loss from loud noise exposure is often a gradual process, unnoticeable until it’s too late.

However, there are plenty more reasons to shout about the importance of hearing protection, many of which have immediate health and workplace benefits.

So listen up as Build-it takes you through the top reasons to invest in high-quality hearing protection and safeguard your ears from the effects of hearing loss.

Hearing Loss is irreversible

Exposure to high noise levels can cause permanent hearing loss, and contrary to popular belief, this can be both gradual or instantaneous.
Most tradies who have experienced permanent hearing loss say it has occurred gradually, often failing to notice until it becomes a significant problem.

Known as a “stealth hazard”, prolonged exposure to even moderate-level noise, such as the repetitive sound of work tools, can cause hearing loss over time.

However, if loud enough, noise can create enough immediate damage to cause permanent hearing loss through exposure to intense noise like an explosion.

Damage to the inner ear or auditory nervous system is often permanent, with the effects not being fully resolved even with hearing aids or surgery.

Warning signs you could be at risk of causing permanent hearing loss include exposing yourself to loud environments regularly, using work tools for extended periods every day or experiencing other ear conditions such as momentary hearing loss, tinnitus or ringing in the ear during or after work.

Better hearing – improved safety

Whether a home renovation or a full-scale construction site, working environments tend always to be a hive of activity, requiring workers to stay alert at all times.

Job site communication is a critical part of reducing accidents by helping workers coordinate and execute jobs and projects while also allowing them to give safety instructions and warnings when required.

Loud background noise can make hearing colleagues, clients, or even safety warning sounds challenging. And if you can’t hear them, there’s a good chance they can’t hear you either.

That’s why it is essential to protect hearing as much as possible while loud tools or prolonged loud noise are in use.

Losing your hearing is isolating

Most tradies only want their work vehicle and tools to follow them home at the end of a shift.

But, the impacts of hearing damage travel well beyond the job site, affecting all aspects of a worker’s quality of life.

Hearing loss limits communication, restricting those affected from being able to interact with others both at work and at home.

And while that may seem like a plus while working alongside that overly talkative colleague or while at dinner with the in-laws, it will also make socialising with friends, family or hobbies incredibly challenging.

Hearing loss reduces productivity

One thing all trades have in common is the need to pay attention to detail.

Intense noise can reduce job focus and lead to distractions that can have massive health and safety implications and impact production and workmanship quality.

A lack of focus means you will get less done and spend longer on site. Or worse, it can lead to catastrophic safety risks.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.