Exposure to loud noise in the workplace for long periods of time can have serious health implications on your hearing, but you may not know that this prolonged exposure can also have an affect on mental and physical health too?

A noisy workplace environment of around 85 decibels (dBA) where you must raise your voice to be heard by someone three feet away can damage your hearing after repeated exposures of eight hours or more.

At 95 dBA or more where you need to shout to be heard by someone at arm’s length – your hearing can be put at risk in less than an hour. Heavy plant machinery, chain saws, and other such equipment used in manufacturing, fabrication, welding and construction industries all operate around 95 dBA.

Here are some other factors to consider if you work in a noisy environment.

Stress and high blood pressure

In addition to damaging hearing, loud noise can cause other physical and psychological conditions including stress. Often the short-term effects of noise related stress go unnoticed or are blamed on other things.

Loud noise can influence the cardiovascular system, resulting in an increase in blood pressure and the release of catecholamines in the blood. An increased level of catecholamines in the blood is associated with stress.

Effect on pregnancy

Research suggests that an unborn child exposed to prolonged loud noise levels may influence the hearing of the child in later life with low frequencies having a greater potential for causing harm.

Accidents and injuries    

Other impacts of prolonged noise exposure on the health of a worker include reduced communication and concentration and a contribution to workplace accidents and injuries with difficulty in hearing warning signals.

However, noise exposure in the workplace can be reduced and occupational hearing loss entirely prevented with today’s hearing loss prevention strategies and technology such as Pambry Electronics Listen Ear™ – Personal Noise Dose Meter.

In summary it is very important for employers to carry out regular occupational health assessments for their workers with checks for symptoms over exposure to loud noise such as hearing loss and increased blood pressure.

Workers in the Construction Industry are surrounded by high-noise levels from heavy equipment.

Hearing Loss Facts

Research has shown that long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for noise induced hearing loss to occur.

Construction Site Hearing Loss and Health & Safety

  • Workers with hearing loss can potentially miss audible warning signals.
  • Hearing loss may lead to a breakdown in communication.
  • Increased effort to listen by hearing impaired workers may lead to fatigue, anxiety, and stress.
  • Workers may also suffer from tinnitus, causing them to hear ringing, rushing, or other noises even when there are no surrounding sounds

How to Protect Hearing and Prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss among construction site workers is preventable. Some important measures that can be taken include:

  • Wearing hearing protective devices such as earplugs, earmuffs or headsets and selecting the right device for your working environment is important.
  • Ensure you are wearing a hearing protective device that meets the proper SNR for the sound level measured in your work environment.
  • Choose a hearing protection solution that is unobtrusive and doesn’t restrict workers, like the Pambry Electronics Listen Ear™ – Personal Noise Dose Meter, so they will always keep it on in all high noise work environments.