Does That Sound Safe To You

Lets talk about hearing conservation. First I would like to share some safety Myths & Misconceptions with you.

  • Loud noise only damages your ears if you work in it all day – Wrong 15 minutes or less at a rock concert can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
  • Noise is not a problem for me I have adjusted to it and my ears are use to loud noises so I am no longer at risk – Wrong you can not toughen up your ears against noise, if you are no longer bothered by the noise you have probably lost your hearing.
  • I will just get a hearing aid when I am old – Wrong hearing loss and damage of this type is permanent and can not be corrected with aids.
  • I do not operate the noisy plant in our area I just work nearby so I am safe – Maybe not depending on the noise level at your specific work area you may still be exposed even if you are not actually operating the equipment.

How does hearing loss occur… 

There are three parts to the ear, Outer, Middle, Inner: Sound waves funnel through the outer ear, vibration is received in the middle ear and becomes nerve impulses in the inner ear which goes directly to the brain. Loud noise kills the nerve endings in the inner ear, as the number of nerve endings decrease so does your hearing. These Nerves can not be restored.

As a guide normal conversation is around 60 dB ( dB is used to show Decibel rating, sound is measured in dB) and increase of 10dB represents a doubling of the loudness. At 80-85dB hearing protection should be worn.

dB Level Examples

  • 30dB whispers in a library
  • 60dB normal conversation
  • 90dB lawnmower, truck traffic, some tools
  • 100dB chainsaw, Pneumatic Drill
  • 115dB vehicle horn, Sandblasting, Rock Concert
  • 140dB gun fire, jet engine

Not only does noise damage your hearing permanently, by the way if you have to shout over a background noise to be heard it is too loud and you should wear protection. Loud noise can also have an effect on your:

  1. Anxiety Levels
  2. Irritability
  3. Increased Pulse Rate
  4. Increased Stomach Acid
  5. Decreased Attention

So listen-up – wear hearing protection when working in noisy areas even for a short period of time. Earplugs and earmuffs can usually reduce the dB by 15-30 when they are properly worn. Simultaneously they can provide an extra 10-15dB reduction.

About Hearing Protection.

It is important to ensure the ear protection selected is suitable for the environment and fits the wearer. One sizes does not usually fit all, so check for fit. You should be able to hear your voice deeper and louder and it should be easier to hear others not harder – if you say yes to these two points your hearing protection fits well.

You have to wear them, obvious I know but even if you take them off for an hour in a 90dB environment you are dropping your protection for example well fitting hearing protection reduces noise by 30dB if they are not worn for 1 hour in that 8 hours day noise reduction is now down to only 9dB protection.

The voices you will miss most with hearing loss are that of woman and children!

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (1)

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  1. Eifion Peters-Hughes says:

    Fantastic article. Hits you between your ears(eyes)

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