When you are an employer, it's important to understand what the regulations are when it comes to excessive noise. The legal guidelines are there for a reason and are strictly enforced to make sure everyone is safe. it is important to be aware of what the legal standards are when it comes to specific decibels.
Here is a breakdown of what you need to be aware of.
Is Noise Exposure Dangerous?
Excessive noise is dangerous. It is best to be aware of how sound is measured and the impact hearing has.
How is Sound Measured?
Sound is measured using decibels or "dB" and 0 is complete silence. 80 dB is equal to standing in a noisy restaurant or in the middle of a busy road. 100 dB would be equal to standing close to a jet flying low to the ground while 140 dB is at the threshold of pain.
It is essential to understand that the sound doubles as it goes up by 3 dB. As for hearing, dBA is used to describe how sound is heard. This states the "loudness" of the sound to the human ear. This scale takes that into consideration as some people will not hear specific frequencies. As you start going above 100 dB, this starts to cause hearing loss in a person.
How do Do Humans hear?
Hearing is one of those processes a lot of people don't understand. It starts with sound waves being pushed towards the outer ear, which then causes vibrations in the middle ear. It is these vibrations that are then amplified in the middle ear.
As the vibrations occur, they will then move to the inner ear, which will cause the sensory cells in the cochlea to react. This is the signal that is then passed to the auditory cortex. As soon as it reaches the cortex, the sound is interpreted by the brain. This is why a person that is exposed to loud noise will deal with damage to the cochlea. The cells in the cochlea take the brunt of the impact and die.
This can become the reason a person has hearing loss. As a result, a person that is working in loud environments repeatedly (i.e. construction workers, concert helpers) should be looking at protecting their ears.
How does Noise Impact Mental Wellbeing?
Humans are supposed to hear well, which means any changes can become upsetting. This can make it hard to handle excessive noises. When a person is dealing with this type of stress, it can lead to other issues and is a common symptom. These issues can include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, an immune system issue, and other mental health concerns. It's important to be aware of this over the long haul.
Which Level of Noise is Dangerous?
When it comes to noise level, it's important to think about the impact it has on a person's hearing. There will be levels that are too high and will cause damage. This is why it's important to use a noise level meter . This includes anything over 85 dBA as this is going to cause permanent hearing impairment through elongated exposure (i.e. 8 hours). Anything over 120 dBA can cause permanent hearing loss.
Legislation for Noise Exposure
It is important to think about the legal guiding limits when it comes to occupational noise exposure. An employer is held responsible for how much noise is produced in the workplace. Anything that is too loud has to have appropriate hearing protection for all employees.