Loud noises in the workplace may be harming the health of Pennsylvania workers, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research was published in the April issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
For the study, CDC researchers analyzed data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. They discovered that around 25 percent of American workers, or 41 million people, have been exposed to on-the-job noise at some point in their lives. Of all the workers, 28 percent had high cholesterol levels and 24 percent developed high blood pressure. The study linked 9 percent of the high cholesterol cases and 14 percent of the high blood pressure cases to work-related noise. Meanwhile, 12 percent of the workers had hearing problems. More than half of those cases were linked to on-the-job noise.
In addition to causing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and hearing problems, medical experts say that loud noises are linked to sleep issues, cognitive performance problems and migraines. These health issues occur because loud noises stress the body's sympathetic nervous system, wearing it down over time. According to the CDC, the work industries with the highest prevalence of work-related noise are mining, construction and manufacturing.
Employees who suffer health issues from workplace noise may be eligible to file for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits could help an injured or sick worker pay medical bills and provide for their family while they are unable to work. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney before filing a workers' compensation claim to make sure all necessary documents are included.