Cases of occupational hearing loss in China have risen by 78% between 2010 and 2012.
Around 10 million Chinese workers were exposed to excessive noise levels at work over a longer period of time in 2012, data released by the Ministry of Health estimates.
Occupational hearing loss has rapidly become one of the most common work-related injuries in China and experts have therefore warned that greater measures should be taken in order to protect workers' hearing.
More awareness needed
A lack of education and knowledge of the causes and consequences is a key factor in the dramatic increase in hearing loss in the work force, according to Zhang Baoming, director of the China Occupational Safety and Health Association.
“Many workers who are exposed to hazardous noise levels for a long time do not know that it will lead to permanent hearing loss. And once the hearing is impaired, it is hard to recover. Prevention is more important than treatment in protecting workers' hearing,” said Baoming.
Protection is key
Ding Hui, President of the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology, suggests that the most promising course of action is to eliminate damaging noise levels from the workplace whenever possible.
Also, he recommends that hearing protectors be used in all situations, where dangerous noise levels have not yet fully been removed or controlled.
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