Deafening worksites damaging tradie’s health
ADAM MacDonald used to be able to pick up the faintest crackle of electricity along the telephone lines, but after 10 years in mining he struggles to hear the people around him.
The 54-year-old Bowen Basin miner said in his former job as a Telstra linesman he used his impeccable hearing like a tool.
"I could listen for crackling on the line," Mr MacDonald said.
But after a decade in open cut mining, he said his sharp pair of ears had been dulled.
Mr MacDonald said the open cut mines were an intensely noisy environment, with workers surrounded by towering machines and blaring trucks.
"Imagine the noisiest V8 you can find and sit on top of it," he said.
"Hearing protection does work, but there's parts of it you can't beat.
"You don't realise how deaf you are, how bad it is."
The Andergrove resident said his wife realised something was wrong when the television volume was turned all the way up.
Specsavers Mackay and Cannonvale audiologist Rebecca Moriarty said hearing issues often snuck up without people realising.
"You forget about the surrounding conversations that are part of life," Ms Moriarty said.
"It's hard when you used to be so in tune to that because you miss sensations."
Ms Moriarty said due to Mackay's heavy industries, hearing loss was common even among young workers.
"If you have to have to raise you voice to talk to someone one metre away from you it's dangerous," Ms Moriarty said.
Despite the risk, Mr MacDonald said between 10 to 20 per cent of his colleagues did not wear hearing protection on site.
As part of Tradies National Health Month, Ms Moriarty encouraged more tradies to wear safety equipment, check in with their ears and book a regular hearing appointment.