Employers and employees are not in tune on their perceptions of workplace noise, according to new research sponsored by EPIC Hearing Healthcare. The national survey of 1,500 full-time employed Americans and nearly 500 benefits professionals showed drastic differences in employee and employer perceptions of whether their workplace is “noisy.”
According to the survey, when employees are asked how many hours a day they believe their workplace is noisy (loud enough you would have to raise your voice to be heard), 55 percent say it is noisy for more than one hour a day, and 36 percent say it is noisy for more than three hours a day. In contrast, nearly 80 percent of employers say their place of employment is hardly ever noisy.
“This suggests that employers may be underestimating the noise levels faced by employees, which could have serious consequences, given that noise exposure is the most common and preventable contributor to hearing loss,” said Brad Volkmer, president and CEO of EPIC Hearing Healthcare.
According to Volkmer, when asked about the impact of noise at work on their hearing, nearly half of employees feel that it could be damaging their hearing and more than half say it is a relief to get a break from the noise of their workplace.
Employees who described their workplace as noisy were also more likely to report diagnosed and suspected hearing loss, supporting the assumption that noise on the job plays a role in hearing damage.
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