Loud noise levels in the Norwegian offshore oil industry torment workers with hearing damage and tinnitus.
Many workplaces have noise levels that are too loud for the human ear. In the long term, a loud working environment can consequently be damaging to your hearing health.
Offshore oil rigs and platforms are examples of such noisy workplaces. In 2001, more than 800 workers in Norway reported hearing damage or tinnitus as a result of their line of work.
A study from 2009-2011 by PSA, the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway, shows that 37% of workers in offshore oil productions are affected by damage to their hearing.
Hearing protection is available to most workers, but these are often not enough to block out the loud noise levels that exist on oil rigs.
Long waiting lists
Many workers in the offshore oil industry seek help for their hearing damage. However, the available rehabilitation offers for hearing impaired workers are not in balance with the number of workers that need help.
Chief of the Audiology Department at Sørlandet Hospital in Norway, Georg Trælund underlines that more and more workers from the Norwegian offshore oil industry suffer from tinnitus and hypersensitivity to sound. Consequently, many workers are on waiting lists to be treated.
Important with prevention and rehabilitation
The National Association of Hearing Impaired in Norway, HLF, underlines the importance of hearing damage prevention.
In addition, HLF calls for more focus on the rehabilitation of workers, who have already been diagnosed with hearing damage and reduced hearing.
HLF underlines that a person with reduced hearing is more likely to become physically exhausted at the end of a work day.
The findings of a Danish study also connect hearing problems to work, showing that the probability for unemployment or early retirement increases in step with hearing damages.
HLF therefore hopes for a balance between “supply” and “demand” for rehabilitation offers to improve everyday life for the many Norwegian workers in the oil industry.
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