Healthy Hearing in a Noisy Work Place
Every year, 30 million people in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can lead to damage of the inner ear and permanent hearing loss, known as noise-induced hearing loss. Beyond hearing impairment, high noise levels at work can cause extreme emotional stress and reduced productivity. Excessive noise levels can also interfere with communication and concentration, making it hard to hear warning signals, resulting in workplace accidents or injuries.
There are a few easy ways to determine if the noise level in your workplace is hazardous:
1. If you have to raise your voice to be heard by a co-worker an arm’s length away, the noise level is potentially dangerous.
2. Use a sound level meter app on your smartphone. Any noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) should be a cause for concern, especially with extended exposure over an 8-hour workday.
If you suspect hazardous noise levels at work, the first thing you need to know is that the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. Simply put, for every 5 dB of sound increase, the time a worker can be exposed to the sound is reduced by half. For example, a worker can legally be exposed to sounds at 90 dB for eight hours. If the sound increases to 95 dB, exposure time must be limited to just four hours. At 100 dB, exposure time must be limited to two hours.
If you think you need hearing protection but it hasn’t been provided, ask your employee for it. Hearing protection can can be a pair of earmuffs or earplugs.
You can also contact us at Comprehensive Audiology for a complimentary pair foam of earplugs.
We also offer custom-made earplugs, specifically designed for industrial settings, and custom-made to fit your ears.
During the month of Labor Day, we salute all of our employees and customers.
For more tips and information about healthy hearing in the workplace, contact Dr. Fogel at 516-387-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.