Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases. 49% of male miners have hearing loss by the age of 50. By the age of 60, this number goes up to 70%.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is an increasingly prevalent disorder that results from exposure to high-intensity sound, especially over a long period of time.
Sound intensity is measured in decibels with a sound level meter. Noise-induced hearing loss can result from a one-time exposure to a very loud sound (at or above 120 decibels), blast, impulse, or by listening to loud sounds (at or above 85 decibels) over an extended period. The louder the sound, the shorter the time period before hearing damage occurs.
Since decibels are based on a logarithmic scale, every increase of 3 decibels SPL results in a doubling of intensity, meaning hearing loss can occur at a faster rate. Therefore, gradually developing NIHL occurs from the combination of sound intensity and duration of exposure.
At 85 decibels, hearing protection is required to be worn.
Plate tampers: 92-100 dB, Pneumatic jack hammers: 100 dB, Jumping jacks – 96 dB, Grinder 91dB
Operating a bobcat 82 dB, Pile drivers 101 dB (50’ from source)
If people are exposed repeatedly and for long periods, sound starts to be harmful at about 80 dBA. At 90 dBA, sound seems about twice as loud, but it’s much more dangerous. This 10 decibel increase means the sound is 10 times more intense. At 100 decibels — a 20 decibel increase — the sound is 100 times more intense than at 80 decibels.
Hearing protection must be worn — and worn correctly — at all times when working in harmful noise environments. Properly selected and worn protectors can provide effective protection from high exposures, but their continued use can be very inconvenient.
At noise levels above 105 dBA (Lex), using earplugs and earmuffs together is recommended.
Off The Job
A GMC truck with a Bose stereo system: 110 dB
IPods 100-115 dB, 110 to 125 dB as highest,
Europe limits iPods at 110 dB.
Ear buds are more likely to cause hearing loss than ear phones.
Noise dampening ear phones help avoid hearing loss.
Hearing damage cannot be corrected. Although a hearing aid may help you by amplifying sound volume, it does not give you back your lost hearing.