An often overlooked threat to the health and safety of truck drivers is hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to the noise of driving has been shown to cause damage to a truck driver’s hearing at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000Hz. Many truck drivers report more hearing loss in the left ear because of the continuous noise of wind coming through an open window. Compounding the danger to truck drivers is the fact that exposure to carbon monoxide has also been shown to have damaging effects on hearing. Because diesel exhaust is full of carbon monoxide, drivers are especially at risk for this type of hearing loss.
Hearing Solutions for Truck Drivers
Hearing loss is a major risk to driver safety — the more damage to your hearing, the harder it is to do your job and the higher the risk of accident. But it is also a quality of life issue. The damage caused to a truck driver’s hearing over years of driving is often irreversible and could force the driver to rely on hearing aids.
The solution for protecting your hearing is a complicated matter. Many experts recommend better working conditions for truck drivers in order to protect their hearing. This would mean better road maintenance, shorter working hours and widespread noise reduction efforts throughout the trucking industry.
But what can drivers do now to preserve their hearing? Regular hearing exams can help detect the beginning of a hearing problem so that drivers can get the medical attention that they need. Driving with the window open is a major source of hearing loss, so if possible, keep the window up. Because carbon monoxide is harmful to hearing (amongst other things), drivers should take measures to reduce their exposure.