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Hearing damage among elementary school teachers

Hearing damage among teachers causes dropout and sometimes empty classrooms

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When people talk about getting hearing damage in the workplace, you probably think of people working with heavy machinery or in nightclubs. Yet it turns out that many teachers also face this problem.

Hearing damage in teachers

Our previous blog already featured some examples of situations where you can suffer hearing damage. Recent research tells us that a class full of noisy children can certainly be added to that list. Physical education teachers are particularly at risk. A noisy gym quickly produces 85 decibels of sound. So it is not very surprising that already many PE teachers walk around with custom-made earplugs.

Not only PE teachers are at risk. Engineering teachers are also exposed to loud noises on a daily basis. The sound of metal in a vise can quickly reach a volume of 114 decibels. Compared to the maximum allowed in entertainment venues, which is 100 decibels, you could say it makes sense that a fair number of engineering teachers suffer from hearing damage.

Long-term exposure to noise as indicated in the above situations can cause symptoms such as noise-related deafness and tinnitus.

Shouldn't schools take measures for this?

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, employers are required to offer hearing protection starting at 82 decibels. For noise above 85 decibels, employees are also required to use it.

Nevertheless, many schools don't want to hear about it, since it costs them a lot of money. Indeed, many schools would rather risk being fined than spend money to protect staff from hearing damage.

Yet taking action would ultimately save a lot of healthcare costs, as it significantly reduces the number of people with hearing problems.

What can be done about it?

Teachers can hardly prohibit children from making noise. Remodeling gymnasiums could be an option, as could retrofitting technology classrooms. Although, of course, that is incredibly expensive and also very time-consuming.

The easiest and cheapest solution is still to offer custom-made earplugs. These are specially tailored to the hearing and therefore offer the best protection. In addition, they filter the noise but ensure that communicating with the children is still perfectly possible.

Are you working in education and in need of personal advice? Then contact us.

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