Noise Exposure Monitoring
Occupational Noise Exposure
Noise exposure is one of the most prevalent occupational health problems. The CDC estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year.
Noise and vibration are fluctuations in air pressure, which affect the human body. These vibrations are converted into mechanical energy by the middle ear, consequently moving microscopic hairs in the inner ear, which convert the sound waves into nerve impulses.
f the vibrations are too intense, these microscopic hairs can be damaged over time, causing both temporary and permanent hearing loss. Midwest Environmental Consulting Services, Inc. (MEC) can help your company prevent occupational hearing loss through noise exposure monitoring. By measuring noise within the workplace, our skilled staff can devise a hearing conservation plan that ensures compliance and employee health.
Identifiers of Workplace Noise Problems
Noise is louder than busy city traffic
Workers have to should to be heard by coworkers at an arm’s length away
Employees hear ringing or humming in the ears after they leave work
Employees experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work
Occupational noise exposure is often the byproduct of many industrial processes, but it can occur in any workplace. Because of its pervasiveness, our hearing conservation program is designed to protect all workers who are at risk for significant hearing impairment. OSHA requires employers to monitor noise exposure levels in a way that accurately identifies employees who are exposed to noise above the federal standards.
Employers must repeat monitoring whenever changes in production, process, or controls increase noise exposure. Employees are entitled to observe monitoring procedures and must receive notification of the results of exposure monitoring.
According to OSHA:
“Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this hearing loss. Short term exposure to loud noise can also create a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noise. However, repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and hearing loss.
Loud noise can create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals. The effects of noise-induced hearing loss can be profound, limiting your ability to hear high-frequency sounds, understand speech, and seriously impairing your ability to communicate.”
Hearing loss is not only caused by loud noises within the workplace. It can also be caused by exposure to chemicals, metals, and gasses. Ototoxic chemicals can to go the ear and affect the hearing nerve. These chemicals may damage the nerve, causing hearing loss and balance problems.