As some residents of California may know, of the number of occupational health problems related to work in the Manufacturing Sector, hearing loss is the most common. According to a recent survey, only severe hearing loss was considered to be statistically significant, and the number of hearing impaired individuals due to work-related issues may be considerably higher if lower levels of impairment were considered.

Research and improvements in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector, which include the production of wood and metal products, such as furniture, chemical manufacturing and food and beverage products, strive to provide provisional guidance to areas covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 11 percent of workers engaged in manufacturing end up with severe hearing loss that may be directly related to their jobs.

Research is being conducted by the National Occupational Research Agenda in collaboration with the industry to identify causes and look at recommendations to improve health concerns in manufacturing. The study’s goal is to research the type of risks involved in manufacturing, the number of workers that may be at risk and provide suggestions for solutions to these problems. The full effects of occupational hearing loss may go unrecognized for years. With about 72 percent of permanent hearing injuries occurring in manufacturing, techniques to protect workers from long exposure to the causative agent may provide relief.

While hearing loss in workers may be gradual, severe hearing loss might cause career-ending injuries that adversely affect future employment and create a lifelong disability. If an individual has suffered hearing loss due to the work environment, he or she may wish to consult an attorney. An attorney may advise the worker about workers’ compensation and on receiving the maximum amount of benefits allowed for their injury.