November 1, 2021
Many workers are overexposed to noise. In time, overexposure can damage your hearing.
Hearing loss prevents you from hearing other hazards on the job. It also causes problems in your personal life:
- It interferes with how you hear normal speech.
- It prevents you from socializing.
- It can cause high blood pressure.
- It is permanent.
Hearing loss is preventable. The best prevention is hearing protection.
Noise is any unwanted sound. There are two types – continuous noise (eg. from a generator) and impulse noise (eg. from a nail gun).
Noise is measured in decibels (dBA). For example, a quick-cut saw produces 115 dBA, a jackhammer 110 dBA, and a drill 100 dBA.
The noise level doubles everytime it increases by 3 dBA. So when the level goes from 80 dBA to 83 dBA, the noise is twice as loud.
In the same way, the noise level drops 6 dBA when you double your distance away from it. This will make the noise level four times quieter.
As of July 1, 2016, Noise Regulation 381 will set a limit of 85 dBA of noise exposure over an 8 hour work shift. This is the loudness of a room full of people.
The new regulation will also require employers to control noise at the source or along the path before relying on hearing protection devices to control noise at the worker.
If hearing protectors such as earplugs and earmuffs are the only option, employers must train workers how to use them.