Tradies, get your hearing checked this National Tradies' Health Month

NORTH Richmond tradie Nathan Fisher began noticing his hearing was not as good as it should be when he was in his late twenties.

Nathan was employed with the Royal Air Force in the UK for 28 years, working with fast jets and other aircraft including Hercules military transport aircraft.

Hearing health: Local tradie Nathan Fisher with Specsavers audiologist Natali Carleton who fitted him with hearing aids at the Richmond store. Picture: Geoff Jones

Hearing health: Local tradie Nathan Fisher with Specsavers audiologist Natali Carleton who fitted him with hearing aids at the Richmond store. Picture: Geoff Jones

"We always had a lot of noise being generated. [But] in the mid- to late-80s, hearing conservation wasn't great," he said.

"I started losing my hearing in my mid-to late-20s. In a male-orientated area, you've got a lot of pressure, people saying 'why are you wearing those [ear muffs for protection]?'. They put it down to camaraderie, and you want to be a man, but then you lose your hearing.

"By the time I came out of the air force it was known that the main cause of my hearing loss was through my tradie work."

These days, Nathan is a hydraulic fitter working in rail track maintenance, and he has just been fitted with hearing aids, which have been helping him a lot on-the-job.

"[At work] there's heavy machinery such as mobile cranes, overhead gantry cranes, welding, grinding, drill press lathes, going all the time. So there's a lot of noise going on constantly," said Nathan.

"The beauty of these hearing aids I've just had fitted is that I can still wear earmuffs over the top, and I can still hear people talking.

"Before that it was really frustrating having to ask people twice or three times to repeat themselves."

Nathan had his hearing aids fitted by audiologist Natali Carleton at Richmond Specsavers, and Nathan and Natali are calling on other tradies this National Tradies' Health Month to get their hearing checked.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the Hawkesbury region, 36.6 per cent of the employed are labourers, tradespeople and machine workers.

This means there are 11,832 tradies who could potentially be exposed to harmful noises on a daily basis.

Specsavers' Natali said hearing loss is of particular concern to retired tradies who are often impacted due to fewer safety requirements during their working years.

"As well as having your hearing checked routinely every two years, there are a number of preventative measures current tradies can take to protect their hearing, especially as the majority of workplace hearing is preventable with the right safety measures and precautions," she said.

Natali recommended these tips for tradies to look after their hearing health: insist on wearing hearing protection; reduce the number of different noises at any one time; raise it with your manager if noise is a concern for you; and get your hearing checked every two years.

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