There is no denying that schools are noisy. Bells ringing, excited children slamming lockers, these are sounds teaches and school staff experience daily. Just like any other noisy work environment, people who work in these conditions can be at risk of hearing loss. In fact, research suggests that teachers and school staff are at an increased risk for occupational noise-induced hearing loss.
Teachers are in many ways essential workers, they shape our children’s future. But, facts are facts, children and schools are loud. Hearing loss amongst teachers can begin at a much younger age than other diagnosed occupational noise-induced hearing loss. Teachers under 40 report a higher rate of difficulty hearing than that of other professionals. Music teachers are amongst the most vulnerable to early hearing loss. If you ever complained about having to learn the recorder in primary school, imagine how your teacher must have felt. Being exposed to the noises of hundreds of children butchering the instrument can cause much more damage than just a headache. All jokes aside, teachers are encouraged to seek regular hearing checks, starting much earlier than most other professionals. The extended exposure to occupational noise increases the likelihood that many teachers will experience noise-induced hearing loss during their career.
Read more about noise-induced hearing loss here: https://hearingsense.com.au/nihl-noise-induced-hearing-loss/
Sound is measured in decibels, and prolonged or repeated exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Sound levels inside a gym can reach up to 90 decibels. Music rooms, home education classrooms, and industrial arts rooms can also achieve similar levels. Even with protective gear and precautions, teachers can regularly be exposed to sounds that exceed safe levels.
Hearing loss amongst teachers can be accompanied by tinnitus. Imagine trying to concentrate on hearing and understanding students with ringing in your ears – that is what nightmares are made of. Many teachers that report difficulty hearing confess to putting off getting tested. They often brush off hearing difficulties in the classroom environment. Sadly, delaying getting their hearing tested can cause further strain on teachers. In an already stressful environment, delaying or avoiding treatment can affect performance in the classroom and lead to fatigue or more significant health problems.
At Hearing Sense, we understand how noise-induced hearing loss can affect our clients quality of life. One of our staff members Ellie, has two parents who taught and worked in the education system. With a mother who is a music teacher, as soon as she learnt the risk of hearing loss to teachers she recommended both her parents take advantage of Hearing Sense’s FREE hearing tests. Sadly, not all teachers have daughters or people around them who are aware of the danger of prolonged exposure to the loud noises of a classroom can cause. If you have concerns about your hearing or the hearing of a loved one, call us today on 8331 8047 to book a FREE hearing test.